'The Bravest' completes mission impossible

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, July 12, 2019
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Cast and crew of "The Bravest" pose for photos at a press conference held in Beijing, July 11, 2019. [Photo / China.org.cn]

The upcoming Chinese firemen blockbuster, "The Bravest," was supposed to be an impossible film to make, according to its original writer; nonetheless it's unprecedented and inspiring.

Baoerji Yuanye, the famous Inner Mongolian writer used to pen the long piece of literary reportage "Tears Are The Deepest Water: The Report on the Suppression of the July 16 Oil-burst Fire in Dalian," appeared at a press conference in Beijing on Thursday to recall the event that occurred in 2010 in the port city of Dalian in Liaoning province, when more than 2,000 men and 338 fire engines from 14 cities from across Liaoning province battled to extinguish the fire.

"The fire erupted in the State-level energy reserve, and in the oil tanker area, more than 60,000 square meters were covered with flames rising as high as several tens of meters," recalled Baoerji.

Cast members demonstrate how to use fire extinguishers on stage at a press conference held in Beijing, July 11, 2019. [Photo / China.org.cn]

"Hundreds of fire trucks drove into the conflagration, but it was impossible for them to come out again. The water ejected from them turned to steam before even reaching the fire, and our firefighters faced a highly dangerous environment that taxed them to the limit."

The writer later interviewed many firemen for his report over a two-month period after the fire, and their many stories touched his heart. "I never thought we could get this onto the big screen, because the fire was horrible, beyond imagination. However, now we have made it, it is unprecedented and a great film to convey patriotism, heroism and the eternal spirit of human beings," the writer said, adding that, "both firemen and filmmakers completed their own missions impossible."

"The Bravest," based on Baoerji's reportage, is directed by Tony Chan, produced by Andrew Lau and Peggy Lee, and starring Huang Xiaoming, Du Jiang, Tan Zhuo, Yang Zi, Hou Yong and Ohu Ou. It will hit Chinese theaters on Aug. 1, China's Army Day. 

According to Bona Film Group, this is the first outing of "China's Pride Trilogy" to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China falling on Oct. 1. The other two films are "Chairman Mao 1949" and "The Chinese Pilot."

Producer Andrew Lau said all the actors worked very hard to present the reality of the disaster, "Because if you want to make a good film, if you want to show the firefighters' greatness, you must create the most realistic fire possible."

"So, our actors are, like, risking their lives to complete their parts: Huang Xiaoming jumped into the fire, Du Jiang would be totally surrounded by flames until he was starved of oxygen... but they were willing to fight for this movie," said Lau.

Director Chan added that the shoot was indeed a "mission impossible." In order to reenact the actual scene in Dalian, the film set was built on a 1:1 scale to duplicate the oil tank area. All the actors went right into the fire without any use of professional stunt men. 

Actor Huang Xiaoming salutes firefighters on stage at a press conference held in Beijing, July 11, 2019. [Photo / China.org.cn]

"Everything they have done is trying to show the real heroic side of Chinese firefighters."

Actor Huang Xiaoming admitted he was scared when they were shooting the fire scenes. He and Du Jiang, Yang Zi and several other actors also attended the press conference on Thursday. They showed the audience the instructions and tips for fire safety and appealed to the general public to learn more about it and be cautious about daily details and risks of fire. 

"We should salute firefighters and pay attention to fire risks," Huang said, "This is really related to us all. We should start from ourselves, from every tiny detail for precaution. Then, our society will have more safety and fewer disaster."

"I dreamed of being a firefighter since my young age, for they were always the ones I most looked up to," Du added. "They are pitting themselves against death. The headlights on their helmets light up the hope of our lives."

A Chinese poster of "The Bravest" [Photo courtesy of Bona Film Group]

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