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Mao: The Real Man

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NEW YORK, NY 10014
1995. 54 MINUTES

Anyone who thinks this might be a real movie about Mao’s life should think twice. This is actually an eccentric Hungarian-made film, which attempts to show how easy it is to manipulate people by confusing fact and fiction. The movie argues that Mao had a brother who emigrated to Chicago, where, in the 1930s, he became a mob kingpin nicknamed Wasp. After getting into a gang battle with the Russian mob, Wasp returned to China and took Mao’s place as head of the CCP. Members of the Chicago mob then appeared in the CCP surrounding Mao. In order to get rid of them, the CIA turned to the Mafia. The Mafia agreed to cooperate in return for the CIA giving them Cuba, but this was thwarted when Castro overthrew Batista.

The movie further insists that Nikita Khruschev, before returning to Russia, was the Chicago gangster with whom the Wasp feuded, hence the origin of the Sino-Soviet dispute. The movie ends by suggesting that after the Long March, the original Mao went to a monastery in Tibet, where he has lived without aging, though there may have been a recent sighting of him in K-mart with Elvis.

Sound bizarre? There’s no question about that. But the movie does allude to a lot of arcane points in the history of the CCP. As such, it might be something that someone might want to show to an advanced class or graduate seminar in a zany moment, or in a desperate effort to inspire a spirited discussion. But no one should use this movie without watching it first!