It’s been 26 years since the end of the Cultural Revolution, but for Chinese filmmakers, the reign of Chairman Mao Tse-tung remains a hot political topic.
Indeed, the period has rarely been covered by filmmakers wary of problems with Chinese censorship authorities.
While the social upheaval of the time serves as the backdrop to Mabel Cheung’s new “Red Shoes,” she describes it more of a touching story of adventure and survival along the lines of “Stand By Me” rather than a look at Chinese political history.
Based on a true story, “Red Shoes” follows seven siblings who embark on a great journey from their village in the Szechwan Province to Beijing in an effort to find their missing parents, who have been accused of being counter revolutionaries.
After taking the wrong train, the seven get lost and end up struggling to survive in a hostile forest.
Cheung says she got the idea from the personal experience of a close friend.
Budgeted at around $2 million, “Shoes” is being written and produced by Cheung’s filmmaking partner Alex Law, who also wrote and produced Cheung’s last pic, “Beijing Rocks” and scripted “The Soong Sisters.”
Law and Cheung are swapping roles for their next project, with Cheung set to produce and Law writing and directing a pic about the first Chinese immigrants in America. “But it won’t be about the men who built the American railroads,” says Law. “Instead, the story will focus on one of the first Chinese women in America, a prostitute who arrived in San Francisco with 5,000 Chinese men.”
Law says he’ll lense the film, also based on a true story, in San Francisco and Utah.