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Chinese director Feng Xiaogang's latest film "Aftershock" begins to hit cinemas across the country on Thursday.
The big screen tear-jerker, based on the devastated earthquake that jolted north China's city of Tangshan in 1976, is a highly anticipated blockbuster for the summer season.
"Aftershock" centers on the devastation that happened in just 23 seconds. It follows the catastrophe as a means to capture the resilience of the city and its people over the past years. In those very 23 seconds, Tangshan was shaken to a huge ruin. A young mother of two is forced to give up her baby girl to save her son. And ever since, that cruel decision changed the whole family's destiny.
A cinema goer said, "I'm highly anticipating this film, because of its nearly one month long publicity campaign in newspapers and on TV. Also because it was directed by Feng Xiaogang."
|Feng Xiaogang's latest film "Aftershock"|
"We who were born in 1980s China have no experience of that calamity. But we went through the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008. This film rings a bell of what we've encountered and it helps bring back the memory of the past," said a cinema goer.
Eighty percent of the cinemas across the country will be screening "Aftershock" from late July to early August. Movie critics predict that the picture will see robust business at the box office to the tune of around 230-to-250-million yuan during its first two weeks of release.
"Aftershock" took Feng two years to prepare, and the shooting process was like therapy to the soul for the cast and crew. In 130 minutes, Feng tells a shocking history with special CG effects and emotional scenes.
Thousands of Tangshan residents participated in the shooting. And stunt men were also on hand to ensure the reality of the scenes.
Feng Xiaogang, director, said, "How will the cranes fall down to the ground, how will the actors be pushed outside of the house, and how will the cars fly over the bridge by the explosion. It's very difficult to recreate all these scenes. We made many costly test runs, but I think they were all worth it."
Whether "Aftershock" will set a box office record for domestic movies exceeding 500-million yuan still remains to be seen.