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"Back to 1942" to hit market soon

11-27-2012 09:20 BJT

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By CCTV reporter Qi Wei

Feng Xiaogang, one of most promising directors on the Chinese mainland, has turned to dramatic disaster movies in recent years. And his latest work "Back to 1942" is about to hit the market soon, joining a fearsome force of new blockbuster releases set for the end of this year.

’Back to 1942’ has just won two awards at Rome Film Festival. Now the director and cast are all back in China, touring the country and promoting their works which will hit the market this Thursday. According to Feng Xiaogang, the director of the film, the story is all about reflection of history and keeping the past tragedies unforgotten.


18 years fermenting, 9 months in preparation, shot and made in one year. There was a lot of buzz ahead of the 210-million-yuan-epic "Back to 1942." Director Feng Xiaogang said on his weibo account that he would bet all the popularity gained from his past 12 films on "1942." However, as the premiere came to a close, there was scarcely any applause, as most audiences remained in shock and silent.

Feng Xiaogang, Director of "Back To 1942", said, "We have done many test screenings and sometimes audiences wouldn’t leave after the film ended. They are deeply impressed and touched."

Just back from Rome, the film scooped the AIC Award for the Best Cinematography and Golden Butterfly Award. Feng said, "For most western audiences, they have only heard of the famine in China in the 1960s. So it is necessary to make this film to make up for the missed lesson."

Feng Xiaogang, the director of the film "Back to 1942"


At the press conference, Feng Xiaogang was asked whether shooting such a sad film mirrors his understanding of faith and humanity. The director joked that the question should be put to the playwright Liu Zhenyun, because it reflected Liu’s "breakdown of faith".

Liu Zhenyun, playwright of "Back To 1942", said, "I watched ’Life of Pi’ last night and I think it has something in common with ’Back to 1942’. Some say it is because of faith that man can survive the tiger. But in ’Back to 1942’, it’s the faint light of humanity that keeps the refugees alive."

Zhang Hanyu plays a priest on a mission as the natural disaster happens. But later he is driven out of hope and faith

Zhang Hanyu, Actor of "Back To 1942", said, "When he puts the Bible on the little girl who is killed by a bomb and prays for help from God, all he gets is another bomb. Then he is driven to despair and asks why God can not beat the Devil."

Adrien Brody, who won the Oscar Award in 2002 for his role in "Pianist" is also part of the cast. Although his character is not the protagonist, he said it was "a privilege to be part of this incredibly dramatic historical film."

Adrien Brody, actor of "Back To 1942", said, "It’s an opportunity to learn from mistakes of the past... Both (1942 and ’Pianist’) of the story share the fact that human spirit has the ability to prevail and triumph even in the face of such darkness. And that’s a very positive and beautiful message."


To visualize the true starvation, all the actors and actresses experienced cold and hunger as the shooting lasted for 135 days. And all of them lost weight.

Zhang Guoli, Actor of "Back To 1942", said, "I lost 12 kilograms while shooting the film. We stay hungry to produce the most genuine feeling for the film. I feel that man’s dignity starts from his belly."

Fan Wei, who plays a cook in the film, is said to have had the best diet while shooting. He said, "I lost 3 kilograms, but not from my face. As the director said to me, when men starves, some suffer weight loss, others suffer edema."

Answering how to make up for the efforts and weight the cast and crew sacrificed, Director Feng Xiaoga spoke about his system of rewarding: "When a man starves too long, you can’t give him food immediately."

The film will hit the Chinese market this Thursday.

"Back to 1942" has just won two awards at Rome Film Festival. Now the director and cast are all back in China.



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