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Living Revolution | Movies | Feature Films

Eternal Life in the Flames (Red Crag)
(Beijing Film Studio, 1965)
liehuo zhong yongsheng
Dir.: Shui Hua

Adapted from a novel, Red Crag, by Luo Guangbin and Yang Yiyan, this film glorifies martyrdom in the Communist revolution. It portrays a group of underground Communists in southeastern China and their heroic struggle against the Nationalists on the eve of 1949.

On her way to make contact with the local guerrillas, Jiang sees a severed head hanging over the city wall. The victim turns out to be her husband, the guerrilla leader who was executed by the Nationalists. The barbaric scare tactics only reaffirmed Jiang’s hatred for the Nationalists. Because of a defector’s betrayal, the CCP’s underground network in the city of Chongqing is in danger. One of the ringleaders, Xu Yunfeng, is arrested. Jiang is also arrested as she escorts a shipment of weapons to the guerrilla. Despite being tortured by the KMT secret police, Jiang refuses to give her inquisitors any information, which earns her the respect of her fellow jail-mates. With the help of a prison cook, who turns out to be an undercover Communist, the prisoners plan a break-out. As the Communist army comes close to the city, the KMT secret service has Xu and Jiang executed. Many prisoners manage to escape to safety, while others are ruthlessly gunned down by the Nationalist soldiers.

(Yingjin Zhang and Zhiwei Xiao, eds, Encyclopedia of Chinese Film, London: Routledge, 1998, p. 279.)

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