The story appears on

Page C3

August 27, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » Events and TV

Tales of a hero to catch the young

THOUGH mainstream traditional patriotic films find it hard to attract young audiences these days, film director Hu Xueyang wants to change all that with his latest work, "My Beloved China" which portrays a hero of China's revolution, Fang Zhimin.

The film premiered in Jiangxi Province, Fang's birthplace, last Thursday and is set for national release on September 8.

According to Wang Tianyun, the movie's producer and vice president of Shanghai Film Group Corp, the film, which had a budget of more than 20 million yuan (US$2.9 million) is also a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China this year.

Starring Ren Chengwei, the movie centers on three periods of Fang's life - episodes entitled "Blood and Flesh," "Poverty" and "My Beloved China." They were the titles of three articles written by Fang after being put in prison by the Kuomintang in 1935. The hero's spirit gets full expression in the movie.

"His faith, incorruptibility and spirit of sacrifice are displayed on the silver screen, which are exactly the merits lost in the current era," Wang says.

Fang, a Communist Party member, built the 10th army corps of the Chinese Workers and Peasants' Red Army in 1928 during the Agrarian Revolution (1927-1937). The revolution marked CPC members' efforts in establishing revolutionary base areas in a China then ruled by warlords and the Kuomintang.

After successfully building part of the Jiangxi revolutionary base areas, Fang led his army corps to fight against Japanese invaders. On their way north, he was arrested by the Kuomintang. Defying torture, Fang never surrendered his ideals and continued his revolutionary course in prison. He died in 1935.

Director Hu, known for his historic epic "Shanghai 1976," says it has long been his dream to shoot a film about a Chinese hero.

"If what a country's young generation remembers is just McDonald's or the 'Transformers' series, it cannot be a great country," director Hu adds. "We cannot ignore our history and should always save the stories of our heroes."

"My Beloved China" differs from traditional revolutionary films in its depiction of characters.

Heroes in such films have long been depicted as tall and strong, men who stand straight and speak loudly to fight against evil. However, in this movie, Fang is a quiet man with a hoarse voice and always hunched due to disease and injuries.

"We hope to present an ordinary-looking person with a powerful heroic heart, even if his appearance is not eye-catching and shining," Hu says.

However, the production of the film has put the director under great pressure. No war films have come out of Shanghai Film Group Corporation for 30 years because of their huge cost.

Yet Hu insisted on making the film because he had been inspired by Fang's touching stories.

About 95 percent of the war scenes in the film are made without stunts. During their shooting earlier this year, it snowed in March in Jiangxi Province, an event that had not happened for 64 years. The weather saved the film crew from needing to spray fake snow as coincidentally the movie needed a snow scene.

Traditional patriotic films seldom turn out to be box office smash hits but Hu seems confident of strong revenues as such a film has a long-term shelf life.

Even before shooting started, Shanghai Education Commission had already booked 1.5 million tickets for local primary and middle school students.

"Traditional patriotic movies are part of my childhood memories, but they are seldom seen nowadays. This genre is never as hot as comedies or thrillers. I'm looking forward to something fresh breaking the stereotype, like 'The Tokyo Trial,'" says Candy Lin, a 22-year-old student.

"The Tokyo Trial" took in more than 10 million yuan at the box office just 10 days after its release in 2006.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend