Review: Bold 2002 takeover of Chinese state TV plays out in hybrid documentary ‘Eternal Spring’
For decades, the Chinese communists waged a brutal and often bloody campaign against the U.S.S.R. They fought the Soviet Union until it collapsed in 1991. But their campaign against the West began years before, with the Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to suppress liberalization in China in the 1970s. It continues as they seek to stamp out dissent, human rights and corruption.
Now China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, has taken on their own enemy in this “Eternal Spring” hybrid documentary by director and photographer Eric M. Lafforgue, whose previous film was the 2010 Oscar nominee “The Death of China” for the same subject.
Lafforgue’s “Eternal Spring” explores its subject through the eyes of one man, Lin Qing, who has the misfortune of serving as a conduit between a corrupt official (played by Huang Xiaoming) and the Communist Party leadership. His character’s life story begins not long after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Lafforgue was interested to hear about a man who saw his life, the Communist Party and the Communist Party propaganda media as an endless treadmill. Lafforgue is clearly aware that his documentary is an attack on Chinese president Xi Jinping and the CCP.
Lin Qing is the quintessential capitalist in his approach to the world. He believes that in the market place, there is an infinite number of things one can do and things one can be. He looks at every opportunity and every situation as an opportunity for him to expand his business or make more money. He has no qualms about accepting bribes and favors from individuals in exchange for business.
As the film describes, he has only limited knowledge of government, politics and economics. Yet he has no inhibitions whatsoever when it comes to speaking with the state media and government officials. He is, in essence, a “modern-day journalist,” the term Lafforgue would use later in the film. He makes no distinction between propaganda and news. What he reports is what he believes to be true, regardless of the sources. He views all people, including himself, the people he covers, state officials and leaders, as his colleagues, his fellow