1911 (Xinhai geming) (2011) R

This movie is Jackie Chan’s loving tribute to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the Chinese Revolution.  It offers a good summary of events.  It is a decent dramatic coverage of the story, which is most often glossed over or left out in western textbooks.  It helps debunk the myth that Sun single-handedly won the revolution.  It contains some rare non-Western battle scenes that depict how the revolution slowly transformed from a rebellion to a full–fledged civil war.  It features some interesting internal debate by the advisors to the failing monarchy on how to suppress the revolt.  The Chinese dialog with English subtitles is a definite obstacle to maintaining the interest of students, however.  The frequent subtitles identifying characters or historical events are so tiny that they are almost impossible to read on a TV screen.  The only anachronism in the movie is that the ocean liner Sun Yat-sen travels on is too modern for the era that is being portrayed.  The movie is almost completely free of sexual content or bad language.  There is some intense violence in the battle scenes, of course.  This film is probably best used by only showing short clips to highlight key events of the revolution.  Instead of trying to watch the movie as is, it would probably be more effective to provide your own narration with the sound turned off.

Return to homepage