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Epic film on Battle of Chosin Reservoir set for summer 2021

By Xu Fan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-10-27 09:34

Directors Chen Kaige (left) and Tsui Hark (second from right) as well as the two lead actors Wu Jing, Yiyang Qianxi (second and third from left) and producer Yu Dong (right) at the Beijing press event. [Photo provided to China Daily]

As one of the largest films to pay homage to the Chinese People's Volunteers who entered the Korean Peninsula to fight for the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53), Changjin Hu (Chosin Reservoir) announced it will resume shooting during a press event in the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution, located in western Beijing, on Oct 26.

A highlighted project backed by the China Film Administration, the country's top sector regulator, the movie is jointly produced by Bona Film Group, one of the country's biggest privately owned studios, and August First Film Studio, the country's only such State-owned production company tailored to military-themed movies.

As a cinematic rendering of one of the most brutal periods of the 1950-53 war, the film centers on how the Chinese company fearlessly faced off against the foreign invaders in the extremely cold winter during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, which was fought between Nov 27 and Dec 24, 1950.

The Chinese People's Volunteers' Ninth Army were dispatched to the northern areas in Democratic People's Republic of Korea to help locals resist the US-led "United Nations" invaders, whose crossing over the 38th Parallel caused an imminent threat to the then newly founded People's Republic of China.

With a successful strategy to split elite US troops under sieges, the Battle of Chosin Reservoir annihilated around 13,000 enemies, becoming a turning point to lay the foundation for the armistice negotiations.

Wu Jing and Yi Yangqianxi (left) portray a couple of close comrades of the Chinese People's Volunteer forces. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The film was once planned to start shooting in early February, but had been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, causing a financial loss estimated at around 150 million yuan ($22.4 million), revealed Yu Dong, chairman of Bona earlier this year.

During the Beijing news conference on Sunday, Yu said the film's directorial chair has been handed from Hong Kong filmmaker Andrew Lau to three prestigious directors -- Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark and Dante Lam -- as Lau is directing another big film for Bona reflecting Chinese doctors' dedication to fighting the pandemic.

Chen, known for leading the directors' team of the anthology blockbuster My People, My Country, highly praised the spirit of the Chinese People's Volunteers, depicting their courage as something which could "shake the Earth and heaven, touch ghosts and make gods shed tears".

With an abrupt fall in temperature – the lowest down to around -40 C, a record in around half a century -- the mountainous areas in the northern DPRK underwent a chilling winter, making the Battle of Chosin tougher and more brutal for Chinese troops. Struggling with rugged outfits and inadequate weapons, tens of thousands of Chinese troops were killed or wounded due to the extreme cold.

Echoing his words, Hark – who has demonstrated his interest in Chinese revolutionary films as exemplified by the 2014 hit The Taking of Tiger Mountain– said: "Shooting such an epic film will be a huge project. I feel thrilled to be part of it and wish we can make it a classic."

Wu Jing, a familiar face in hit military films of recent years, and Yi Yang Qianxi, one of China's fastest-rising young stars, team up to portray a couple of comrades.

The film is set to be released in July next year.

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