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Mao’s Mango Cult provides a fascinating slice of the history of China’s Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s. The short chronicles the peculiar story of how mangoes became a venerated item in the country after Mao Zedong regifted a box of the titular fruits to factory workers. Eventually, mangoes grew in the public imagination to become a symbol of Mao’s affection for and generosity towards the working class, and even resulted in a death sentence for a man who dared to publicly disrespect the fruit. Featuring evocative, impressionistic animations from the Hong Kong-born, Paris-based animator Kayu Leung, the film explores how this tale of mango mania signifies the all-encompassing reach of propaganda in Maoist China, and the violent power it was capable of wielding.
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