Window of Opportunity May Be Closing

George Soros has spoken – at Davos, Switzerland, no less – saying that it is time for the West to dump both Presidents Putin & Xi. Given US/NATO performance in Iraq & Afghanistan, it hardly makes sense to take on simultaneously Russia (one of the world’s prime sources of energy, minerals, and food) and China (the undisputed prime source of many manufactured products). But Soros talks, and our Political Class listens.

In addition to perhaps ending civilization, Soros’ call for action may have more immediate impacts, such as reducing the ability for us to see Chinese TV programs (as has already happened with Russian programs). Before that sad day, anyone with some time to waste and a modicum of interest might be intrigued by a 2020 Chinese TV police drama – the series “Reborn”.

A word of caution – Chinese TV series tend to be similar in style to Mexican telenovelas. Fortunately, “Reborn” is quite short by Chinese standards at a mere 28 episodes of 45 minutes each. The plot centers around the fallout from an unauthorized police raid which degenerated into a shoot-out that left everyone dead except for one seriously injured officer who cannot remember anything about the incident. Of course, in proper telenovela style, there are multiple sub-plots.

The series was filmed in and around Chongqing in western China, upriver from Wuhan – another one of those Chinese cities that are larger than London. One of the fascinating aspects of watching the series is, in a sense, seeing the similarities of life in China to that in (parts of) the West – the urban freeways, the massive suspension bridges over the river, the mass transit monorail, the high-speed rail station. The plot involves exclusive restaurants and greasy spoons, expensive lawyers and drug addicts, pop singers and prostitutes, high-end funeral homes and low-rent gambling establishments, tony boarding schools and charitable orphanages. There are all the elements one would expect in a western police drama – chases and gunfights, one-way mirrors and bomb squads – along with significant introspection.

The plot has room in 28 episodes for suitable twists & turns. The quality of the acting ranges from acceptable to excellent; Zhao Jin Mai (aka Angel Zhao), who plays the vengeance-obsessed teenage sister of one of the dead criminals, turns in a superb performance reminiscent of the young Jodi Foster. The film-making also hits some very high spots – such as a wonderfully executed scene set in a playground in which the beautiful psychologist helps Angel Zhao’s character to remember a traumatic incident from her childhood. For those prepared to handle sub-titles, this series is a worthwhile investment of time. See it before the opportunity is gone!

[ENG SUB] Reborn 01 (Zhang Yi, Zhang Haowei) Splendid mind-twisting crime drama - YouTube


My wife has watched quite a few of these series from China and found them excellent - up to 75 episodes in a given series! We have both watched Russian series which were all excellent as well. I have reviewed them previously, but haven’t time to find citation. I remarked that they were partially funded by the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense and noted that reciting and celebrating one’s true history is seen there as defending the nation. What a quaint notion!


Thanks for the recommendation. As the West continues to isolate itself from the Sino-Russian alliance, we should take the opportunity to appreciate the artistic contributions from the other side before they are totally suppressed.

John recently posted The Putin Interviews by Oliver Stone. In the second episode, Putin watches Stanley Kubrick’s classic, Dr. Strangelove, for the first time. Seeing this made me realize I have probably missed out on some great Russian and Chinese films. I am wondering if anyone can suggest Russian or Chinese movies that are worth watching, especially those that exemplify the culture of those nations or offer a different perspective on historical events? The TV shows sound interesting but I am not sure I can commit to a long series.


If you’d like to start with the Soviet classics, I’d recommend Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 silent film Battleship Potemkin. It dramatises the 1905 mutiny by the crew of the eponymous battleship which was a turning point in the fall of the Czar. The film is considered one of the greatest of Soviet films and in 2012 was voted 11th greatest film of all time by the British Film Institute.

This version on YouTube is the 1975 50th anniversary edition with a score adapted from the symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich. It has the original Russian title cards with English subtitles.


Not at the level of “Battleship Potemkin”, but a couple of Russian movies which may be worth watching – definitely both better than their trailers!

1612”, a 2007 movie about Russia’s Time of Troubles, when it was struggling under Polish domination.
2007 - 1612 - Trailer - russia - english subs - YouTube

Admiral”, a 2008 movie about Admiral Kolchak who led the White Russian forces in the post-WWI Russian civil war. A little romanticized, but a good movie all the same.
Admiral Kolchak (2008) - Official teaser - YouTube

And of course who can ignore the SciFi/Fantasy Russian movies “Night Watch” and “Day Watch”? Mostly for entertainment, of course, but fascinating in that “Night Watch” was made with a limited budget for an expected Russian-only audience; the surprising international success of “Night Watch” led to a much bigger budget for “Day Watch”. (The movies are more thought-provoking than the trailer might suggest)
Day Watch (2006) - Trailer - YouTube


I’ve always been partial to Alexander Nevsky over Battleship Potemkin. It also appears on great film lists, and I think offers a peek into the Russian soul.


Here is a print of Alexander Nevsky on YouTube with English subtitles. The subtitiles may not be enabled by default—if you don’t see them, go to the gear icon at the bottom and select English.

The movie was released in 1938 and includes an original score by Sergei Prokofiev. During the Great Patriotic War, it was awarded the Stalin Prize for film. In August 1938, when the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, the film was removed from distribution. After the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, it returned to theatres in the Родина.


Funny how the Soviets manipulated film for propaganda value. WE, of course, being true blue, honest AMERICANS would never do such a thing. :innocent: :smiling_face_with_tear:


A few years ago, I reviewed a number of Russian mini series made for TV. These included: Sophia, Ekaterina (the rise of Catherine the Great), Godunov, Trotsky, Rasputin. As I recall they were on Netflix and or Prime. These productions were excellent in every way and without historical revision. Interestingly, they were partially funded by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. This suggests there is value in knowledge of one’s actual history (warts and all), when it comes to defending one’s nation - a concept unknown in the “enlightened” West.


Relatively few Chinese movies have made much of an impression on me. One that did was 2009’s “City of Life & Death” about the pre-WWII Japanese Rape of Nanking, appropriately filmed in Black & White. It is quite a disturbing movie – the Japanese army’s victory War Dance is perhaps even more upsetting than the actual violence. There seem to be quite a few Chinese TV series about the Japanese assault on China, many with plots that are variations on clever Chinese patriots outwitting foolish Japanese soldiers; this movie is different.
City of Life and Death - Official Trailer [HD] - YouTube