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Blue Kite

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Katrina Oh
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Blue Kite

Tian Zhuangzhuang’s classic film “Blue Kite” tells the story of the life of a young boy Tietou living in Communist China during historical events like 100 Flowers, Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution. This film directly addresses the CA world history standard 10.9.4 Analyze the Chinese Civil War, the rise of Mao Tse-tung, and the subsequent political and economic upheavals in China (e.g. Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the Tiananmen Square uprising).

This is an ideal film to show world history students studying China because it shows students how these events personally impacted the lives of the Chinese people and better understand the significance of events like the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. After viewing the film, students would be asked to answer discussion questions related to the “Blue Kite” (see below) in preparation for a Socratic Seminar. Students would also be asked to develop three high-level questions about the film for the Seminar.

Social Studies Discussion Questions for the “Blue Kite”

1. How is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) depicted in the film? Are they represented positively, negatively, or both?

2. Consider the role of propaganda in the film. What tools did the Chinese Communist Party use to influence the actions of the people?

3. How did fear influence the way characters made decisions in their private lives as well as public lives?

4. Why do you think the stepfather was targeted during the Cultural Revolution?

5. The CCP is part of most aspects of the lives of the Chinese featured in this film. Identify three to five ways the Party is a part of their everyday lives.

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