Reminder: Special online showing of ‘1921’ (2 October)

Friends of Socialist China are pleased to offer a rare opportunity to watch the film 1921.

  • Date: Saturday 2 October 2021
  • Time: 7pm Britain / 2pm US Eastern / 11am US Pacific
  • Registration: Eventbrite

About ‘1921’

‘1921’ is a full length feature film produced to mark this year’s centenary of the Communist Party of China. It is set against the background of the intense class struggle waged by the young Chinese working class in Shanghai in particular. The action also takes us to Moscow, Paris and elsewhere. Key early Chinese communists like Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping all feature in this not to be missed film. As gripping as any Hollywood blockbuster, it is also an education and an inspiration.

A review by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett can be read online.

Please note the film is in Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles.

Who is organising the screening?

This event is organised by Friends of Socialist China, in coordination with Trinity Cine Asia. It is co-sponsored by the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding, the Morning Star, the Geopolitical Economy Research Group, the International Manifesto Group, and Qiao Collective.

How does the online screening work?

At the start time (7pm Britain, 2pm US Eastern, 11am US Pacific), registered users will receive (by email) a link to stream the film. They will then have a three-hour window in which to watch it.

Why are we charging for this event?

Please note that Friends of Socialist China are not making any money from the showing; our purpose in arranging it is to ensure that its important political and cultural content reaches a wider audience. However, Trinity Cine Asia, with whom we are partnering to organise the screening, have paid the costs of distribution and marketing; therefore all proceeds go to them.

Film review: 1921 – A vivid panorama of revolution

Review written by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett


The 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China has been the occasion for many grand and impressive events throughout July. 1921, which has also been playing in selected cinemas in Britain and Ireland, and doubtless elsewhere, is the film for the centenary.

A feature film, with special effects worthy of any Hollywood blockbuster, it also features some documentary footage, skilfully heightening the sense of both drama and realism.

Whilst 1921 is focused on that momentous year, it deploys flashbacks as far as the 1850s, showing China’s degradation to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruined nation and then at its conclusion a potted but vivid historical reconstruction of subsequent years, which culminates in Chairman Mao proclaiming the founding of the People’s Republic on October 1st 1949, as well as Young Pioneers visiting the restored site of the first party congress 100 years later.

A similar historical technique is deployed to depict aspects of some of the key characters, including such pioneering Chinese communists as Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu, Li Da and, of course, Mao Zedong. Particularly moving is the depiction of the tragic and heroic fates of some of the key early martyrs of Chinese communism, including Yang Kaihui, Mao’s first wife and great love. This provides a raw and poignant contrast to the youthful idealism, frenetic activity and infectious optimism of many of the key characters as they throw themselves into the preparations for the founding of the party whilst simultaneously immersing themselves in the surging movement of the young but extremely militant Chinese working class along with the youth and students. Shanghai, in particular, where the party was founded, is accurately depicted as a playground for wealthy Chinese and above all for foreign overlords, but as a living hell for the masses of Chinese people.

Continue reading Film review: 1921 – A vivid panorama of revolution