At the press conference for Jia You! Eastern Angels (the female version of My Hero) Wang Zhonglei, the Hua Yi president revealed the details of director Feng Xiaogang‘s newest film, Tangshan Earthquake.
The Tangshan Earthquake occurred in 1976 and was the most destructive earthquake of the 20th century by death toll, with numbers in the hundreds of thousands, in contrast to the devastating The Sichuan Earthquake with a death toll around 70,000.
The aftermath must have been horrifying, because the government in China at that time was at the end of Mao’s reign, and going through a transition period. It simply didn’t have the organization or resources that China’s government had last year to help cope with disaster relief, and even with Sichuan the stench of bodies was said to have lasted for a week.
In one part of the film, the main character’s mother is in the middle of an earthquake. Her pair of faternal twins are stuck under a stone slab. The mother can only pick one, because by raising the left side, the right side will crush the child under it. But by raising the right side, the child on the left will lose his life. Feng Xiaogang believes this reflects the suffering brought by something as unexpected and devastating as an earthquake.
The leads should be announced sometime around the Shanghai Film Festival, China’s largest film festival, whose jury will be headed by recent Oscar-winning director, Danny Boyle.
It would cost 150 million RMB (a little over 20 million USD) and would be Feng Xiaogang’s highest budgeted movie to date. Part of this cost involves having the post-production crew from, wait for it…Harry Potter. If they mean the first HP movie, then that doesn’t seem like a great choice.
Feng Xiaogang’s last film, If You Are the One, which was meant to be rather low-key, and was filled with product placements to supplement its box office earnings, ended up unexpectedly being the highest grossing film of China in 2008, earning 325 million yuan, beating out Red Cliff’s 321 million yuan.