BOOK DATA Jie Li, Cinematic Guerrillas: Propaganda, Projectionists, and Audiences in Socialist China. New York: Columbia University Press, 2023. $140.00 cloth; $35.00 paper; $34.99 e-book. 344 pages.

Long before provisionally becoming the most important film market in the world, much of China’s territory lacked the infrastructure necessary to develop a sustainable film-exhibition network. Despite the lack of electricity in rural areas in the mid–twentieth century, the newly established socialist state spared no effort in bringing cinema to even the most remote of its villages. For that, it created a low-tech propaganda network for distributing films, one that relied on the hard work of itinerant projectionists, who would carry equipment to electrify villages both literally—with the aid of generators—and figuratively, bringing to Chinese communities the “light” of Mao Zedong’s leadership.

In her latest book, Cinematic Guerrillas: Propaganda, Projectionists, and Audiences in Socialist China, Jie Li historicizes the exhibition and...

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