China changed in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s because of the swinging change in revolution brought in by the Communists, as shown in the Chinese film To Live. Red, the color, was flown proudly and painted on everything that could. Red bows and arm bands were common to distinguish who is part of the Red Guard and loyal to Mao and the Communists. People were also now proud on being communists and were glad to not be landlords, doctors, artists, or teachers. Communal kitchens were also enforced during these times. Another effect of the communism revolution is that now the citizens started calling each other “comrades” as a sign of respect. These were all effects of the changes brought on by communism.
This red color was Communists reinvented as a sign of respect and loyalty to them. They were almost obsessed with the color red. From when the main character, Fugui, came home to his family and to the end of the movie, the color red was shown very vibrantly and it seemed that it was on everything that could be painted. I can compare this to how we as Americans show our colors, red, white, and blue. The difference between us and them is that they took it a step beyond us and made it a point that they wear it on their sleeves.
When the Communists took over the country, they shunned the intellectuals. They went on the belief that they were hurting the country and taking advantage of everyone. Mao and the Communists wanted to switch the motivation of the society from materialism, to a goal-based and for the best of the country. However, in this group of intellectuals, were doctors, teachers, professors, artists, and landlords. Generally, they make others lives better. An example brought to the attention by this movie, is childbirth. Because the professors and the doctors are all in jail or fled, they were not completely trained and prepared. Sadly, they did not manage to save Fugui’s daughter. This sort of chaos seemed to be unnecessary since they did have these doctors and others that could have saved others for the benefit of the country.
Since China got into Communism, they created communal where a community would act as one large family to benefit each other and to share the common goal of making China better than America. However, this causes the actual families to skip on “family” time and, like shown in the movie, cause inappropriate behavior from some escalating tensions that could have been solved with a quick talk. It also caused a large group of people to be close to each other more often than usual, and false accusations might be shouted out of anger or frustration from claustrophobia.
One minuscule effect that I noticed was the naming of “comrades.” The men in book would call and be called “Comrades.” I noticed this when they had their red sleeves showing. This replaced the names of “Master” and others when the revolution took place in China. This showed that everyone was equal and together on the same team, working on the same goal of making China greater, beating Taiwan and America. It must have helped morale of the workers since they are also on the same prefix as just about everyone else.
Communism was trying to be shoved down the people’s throats in China and the culture and way of life of many were changed. This cultural revolution must have been interesting to live through it, and scary for those who were part of the intellectuals. Just seeing the color red everywhere, calling each other “comrades,” being a member of a communial kitchen, and the switching of motivation from materialistic, to goal-based, would have a big impact, and that’s only four changes that were noticeable in To Live.