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Darkness' bright side

Updated: 2012-12-11 09:53
By Liu Wei (China Daily)

Darkness' bright side

Author Liu Zhenyun reveals one of the darkest historic events in his novella Back to 1942, the film adaptation of which is in theaters. Jiang Dong / China Daily

Darkness' bright side

The grave side

Darkness' bright side

Xu Fan, Feng Xiaogang promote 'Back to 1942'

Darkness' bright side

Trailer of new film 'Back to 1942' released 

Liu Zhenyun discovered many survivors of Henan province's famine 70 years ago have forgotten about the disaster when he was doing research for his novella. Liu Wei talks with him about his book and namesake blockbuster film Back to 1942.

Related: A true picture of turning Liu's fantastic fiction into Feng's film

Writer Liu Zhenyun had an incredible discussion with his grandmother in 1990, when he returned to his hometown, Henan province's Yanjin. "Do you remember 1942?" he asked. "What happened in 1942?" his grandmother asked. "People starved to death," Liu said.

"People starved many years. Which famine are you talking about?" she responded.

Liu was doing research for a book chronicling a century of disasters in China, when he stumbled upon a rarely discussed catastrophe.

A famine killed about 3 million people in Henan in 1942.

He was shocked to discover many survivors, like his grandmother, have forgotten about the horrific event.

His conversation with his grandmother features in his 1993 novella Back to 1942 but isn't in the namesake blockbuster film now in theaters.

Celebrated director Feng Xiaogang adapted the book into the 147-minute film based on a script written by Liu.

The film grossed 200 million yuan ($32 million) within a week of its Nov 29 premiere.

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