This film is part of Free

China (1942)

Fascinating anti-Japanese, pro-Chinese wartime propaganda film.

Documentary 1942


This propaganda documentary introduces 1940s China to Western viewers – and denounces its Japanese invaders. Largely consisting of clipped commentary over silent footage and simple maps, it’s a spare film – but informative for its original viewers and fascinating today. Britain might be judged hypocritical for condemning imperialism but then the film does portray Japan as ‘imitator’ of the West.

Production company Paul Rotha Productions was at the cutting edge of Britain’s documentary film movement during WWII. Most of their work was about home front subjects and more stylistically vivid than this rather austere production: the footage was shot by other producers and merely assembled by Rotha employee Budge Cooper (one of the several women who were leading lights of British documentary at the time).