Advertising Posters: Epic TV Series The Foolish Old Man
A generously funded, and nationally distributed TV series “The Foolish Ol Man Who Moved Mountains” first distributed by China Central Television (中国中央电视台, CCTV) in July 2008 and directed by Taiwanese director Wu Jiadai 吴家骀 is advertised as follows:
“The Foolish Old Man Who Moved Mountains” from Liezi’s Yangwen is known even to women and children. Mao’s text “The Foolish Old Man Who Moved Mountains” is well known to every family, everywhere, in the cities and the countryside. An allegorical story with a tradition of thousands of years, A completely newly created grand mythical drama.
This prepublication announcement thus emphasizes the two sources for the story but also highlights that it was Mao who made it become a household name. The central publication poster (ill. 4.18) further stresses the story’s Maoist heritage by using Mao’s calligraphy for the title and placing his name next to it.
In the conception and the production of the drama clear moments of “Revolutionary Realism and Revolutionary Romanticism” (i.e., Maoist artistic pathos and style) shine through. One of the film stills that was turned into an advertising poster illustrates this clearly: it shows the Foolish Old Man on the left, in profile, overlooking a plateau with clouds and mountains beyond (ill. 4.19). The image takes up on a prototype in depictions of Mao, the most prevalent of which is Liu Chunhua’s 1967 oil painting Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan, which became a “model painting” during the Cultural Revolution (see ill. 5.1). Here, as there, the majestic depiction of clouds and nature must be understood as a direct reference to the hero’s sublime disposition.