Aftershock (film)

Aftershock (film)

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Aftershock or Aftershocks, named in Chinese as the "Tangshan Great Earthquake" is a 2010 Chinese drama film
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 depicting the aftermath of the 1976 Tangshan earthquake
1976 Tangshan earthquake
The Tangshan Earthquake also known as the Great Tangshan Earthquake, was a natural disaster that occurred on July 28, 1976. It is believed to be the largest earthquake of the 20th century by death toll. The epicenter of the earthquake was near Tangshan in Hebei, People's Republic of China, an...

 directed by Feng Xiaogang
Feng Xiaogang
Feng Xiaogang , in is a Chinese film director. He is famous in China as being perhaps the most successful "commercialized" filmmaker whose comedy films do consistently well in the box office, although Feng has attempted to break out from that mold by making drama or period drama films...

. The film stars Xu Fan and Zhang Jingchu
Zhang Jingchu
Zhang Jingchu is a Chinese film actress. She graduated in Directing at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing.Zhang was brought up in a middle-working class family in the countryside...

, with a supporting cast including Li Chen. It was released in China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 on July 22, 2010, and is the first "big commercial film" IMAX
IMAX
IMAX is a motion picture film format and a set of proprietary cinema projection standards created by the Canadian company IMAX Corporation. IMAX has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems...

 film created outside the US.

Plot


In 1976 Tangshan, Yuan Ni lives in a small apartment with her husband and their twins Fang Deng and Fang Da. Yuan Ni expresses to her husband her desire to have one more child, and they get into the back of their truck after putting their son and daughter to bed. Suddenly the ground shakes, and buildings begin tumbling down. Running back to save their kids, Yuan Ni is pulled back by her husband, who runs ahead of her and is instantly crushed. Their house falls down, trapping her two children.

In the aftermath of the 1976 Tangshan earthquake
1976 Tangshan earthquake
The Tangshan Earthquake also known as the Great Tangshan Earthquake, was a natural disaster that occurred on July 28, 1976. It is believed to be the largest earthquake of the 20th century by death toll. The epicenter of the earthquake was near Tangshan in Hebei, People's Republic of China, an...

, a rescue team informs Yuan Ni that her twins Da and Deng are trapped together under a slab of concrete. Lifting the slab in any way will kill one of her children - lifting it one way will save the daughter at the expense of her son; lifting it the other will save the son at the expense of her daughter. Heartbroken, she is forced to choose between her children, and finally decides to save the boy. Her decision, however, is overheard by her daughter, who tearfully whispers "Ma..." as the screen goes black. The mother clings to her daughter's body before being pulled away to take care of Da, "her one child who still lives." Later, Deng wakes up in a sea of bodies, next to the body of her deceased father.

Assumed to be an orphan by the soldiers who found her in the camp, Deng is adopted by a military couple. She refuses to speak, and claims not to have remembered anything before the earthquake. She eventually opens up and bonds with her adopted parents. Ten years later, Deng is accepted into medical school and moves away, where she meets a graduate student and begins an intimate relationship with him. In her third year of study, Deng's adopted mother falls ill. Before dying, she asks Deng to use the money they saved up for her to find Deng's real family. Deng doesn't respond. After getting back from the hospital, Deng finds out she is pregnant, and despite being pressured by her boyfriend to get an abortion, she refuses to abandon her baby the way her mother abandoned her. She secretly drops out of university and loses contact with her boyfriend and her adopted father.

During that period of time, Da grows up with his mother, who is still torn from the decision she had to make. The earthquake claimed Da's left arm, leaving him physically disabled. Rather than taking his university entrance exams, Da opts to make it on his own by transporting people with his bike. He leaves his mother in Tangshan and eventually becomes the boss of a successful travel agency. He marries and has a son, named Dian Dian.

After a four-year absence, Deng goes back to see her adopted father with her daughter, also named Dian Dian. She apologises and makes up with her father, finally admitting that she remembers everything that happened during the earthquake. She tells him about her mother's decision, and says that she will never forget how she was abandoned. Then on New Year's Eve, Deng tells her adopted father that she is getting married to a foreigner, who is 16 years older than she is and emigrated to Vancouver, Canada with her daughter.

In 2008, Deng sees the earthquake in Sichuan on TV. She immediately volunteers to join rescuers in the wake of the Sichuan earthquake
2008 Sichuan earthquake
The 2008 Sichuan earthquake or the Great Sichuan Earthquake was a deadly earthquake that measured at 8.0 Msand 7.9 Mw occurred at 14:28:01 CST...

 and returns to China. Unknowingly, at the same time, her long-lost brother has also decided to help volunteer in the rescue efforts. While taking a break, the sister overhears a stranger (her brother) talking about his past experiences in the Tangshan earthquake, and quickly realizes that it is her brother. It is assumed that she reunites herself with her brother, and they both decide to visit their mother. At first Deng is angry at her mother for abandoning her, and thinks that her mother hated her and that is why she chose her brother over her, but after all three of them went to visit their father's grave and her grave (she was assumed to be dead), she realized that despite her being "dead", her mother had been buying two sets of all the school workbooks; one for her brother and one for her. At this point, she realized the remorse, emotional agony and guilt that her mother had gone through for the past 32 years and finally she forgives her mother. The family is reunited after 32 years of separation.

The screen then cuts to a stone memorial in Tangshan. Carved into the stone are the names of all 240,000 victims of the earthquake. A single elderly man is seen looking up at a name, then biking away. During all this, the subtitles reveal that this man had been visiting this memorial every year. He had lost all of his family in the earthquake. Of the five people, he was the only survivor. The camera follows him, as he rides past walls and walls of names all carved in with gold lettering.

Development and release


The film was produced by HuaYi Bros., which partnered with IMAX to produce three Chinese films (of which Aftershock is the first). In Singapore, it is distributed by Homerun Asia with Scorpio East and Golden Village Pictures.

Aftershock was released in over 5000 conventional and 14 IMAX theaters in late July 2010. In early August 2010, the film surpassed The Founding of a Republic
The Founding of a Republic
The Founding of a Republic is a 2009 Chinese historical film commissioned by China's film regulator and made by the state-owned China Film Group to mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China...

as the highest-grossing locally-made film in China, with a RMB532 million gross.

The film was selected as the Chinese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film
Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is one of the Academy Awards of Merit, popularly known as the Oscars, handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences...

 at the 83rd Academy Awards
83rd Academy Awards
The 83rd Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences , honored the best films of 2010 and took place February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, Academy Awards ...

, but didn't make the final shortlist.

After the filming of Aftershock, director Feng Xiaogang
Feng Xiaogang
Feng Xiaogang , in is a Chinese film director. He is famous in China as being perhaps the most successful "commercialized" filmmaker whose comedy films do consistently well in the box office, although Feng has attempted to break out from that mold by making drama or period drama films...

 sat down at Sina.com
Sina.com
SINA is an online media company for China and Chinese communities around the world. SINA operates four major business lines: Sina Weibo, SINA Mobile, SINA Online, and SINA.net. SINA has over 100 million registered users worldwide...

 microblog and talked about the revival of some traditional Chinese characters. He said that the traditional Chinese character for "Love" (愛) lost the component for "Heart" (心). In addition the traditional character for "Relative" (親) lost the component for "Sight" (見). So 親愛 (qīnài; dear/beloved) became 亲爱, and afterward came the Cultural revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

 and the massive earthquake.

Reception and awards


Aftershock won the Best Feature Film and Best Performance by Actor for Chen Daoming at the 4th annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards
Asia Pacific Screen Awards
The Asia Pacific Screen Awards is an international cultural initiative of the State Government of Queensland, Australia, through Events Queensland, to honour and promote the films, actors, directors, and cultures of Asia-Pacific to a global audience and to realise the objectives of UNESCO to...

. Raymond Zhou of China Daily
China Daily
The China Daily is an English language daily newspaper published in the People's Republic of China.- Overview :China Daily was established in June 1981 and has the widest print circulation of any English-language newspaper in the country...

placed the film on his list of the best ten Chinese films of 2010.

See also


External links