'My People, My Country': A unique patriotic film

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, September 29, 2019
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A poster of "My People, My Country" [Image courtesy of Bravo Entertainment]

The tentpole film production "My People, My Country" provides grand and ambitious scale narratives spanning seven decades of the People's Republic of China to capture historical moments, but through the unique perspectives of ordinary people.

The film, set to dominate China's 70th National Day holiday season, is a combination of seven short films by seven elite Chinese directors headed by award-winning veterans Chen Kaige and Huang Jianxin. 

The film's focus is not about the historical moments themselves, but is through an ordinary people's perspective to portray those who were dedicated to or affected by the historical moments. 

"We were very worried, because seven directors for one movie, this never happened before," film director Huang Jianxin said at the premiere held in Beijing on Saturday. He served as producer of the project. 

"There were few successful precedents in world film history. But two weeks ago, after the general director Chen Kaige and I finished watching the rough cut of the film, we both cried at the end and shook hands in excitement. Each episode in 'My People, My Country' reflected what touched the directors deep in their hearts and will surely resonate with all the audience."

"My People, My Country" consists of seven parts: The first, directed by Guan Hu, is about how the engineer Lin Zhiyuan ensured the technical details were secured to electronically hoist the very first Chinese nation flag at the founding ceremony of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949. 

The second, directed by Zhang Yibai, is about how a scientist working on China's first atom bomb had to bid farewell forever to his lover in the 1960s. The third, directed by Xu Zheng, is about how a little Shanghai boy helped local adults to watch TV for the Chinese women volleyball team's Olympic gold medal win in 1984.

The fourth, directed by Xue Xiaolu, is about ordinary Hong Kong people, a Chinese executive delegation as well as local policemen prepared for the return of city from British rule to China in 1997. The fifth, directed by Ning Hao, is about how a taxi driver shows off the ticket he has luckily obtained for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but then encounters a boy from Sichuan earthquake zone and makes a big decision. 

The sixth, directed by Wen Muye, is about how a top female fighter jet pilot helps her fellow pilots accomplish a smooth aerial performance, part of the military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War in 2015.

The seventh, directed by Chen Kaige, is a story related to the manned spacecraft Shenzhou-11's astronauts' return to Earth, landing in Inner Mongolia in 2016. Chen, who oversaw all the directors' works and also directed his own part, stated his unique creative vision at the premiere: "Our country has a vast territory, but development is actually unbalanced. Our focus should not only be on the developed areas in the eastern coastal areas, but also on those areas that are temporarily left behind."

He added, "If a person encounters a historical opportunity to be changed, the inspiring power generated is unbelievable. In my story, the landing of Shenzhou-11 changed the lives of two teenagers, changed their destiny and allowed them to gain new hope."

The film not only attracted all-star directors, but also a star-studded cast including Huang Bo, Ge You, Simon Yam, Kara Wai, Zhou Dongyu, Ren Suxi, Peng Yuchang, Tian Zhuangzhuang, Tong Liya, Zhang Yi, Wang Qianyuan, Song Jia and more. All said they are honored to have been part of this project.

Directors and cast members pose for a group photo at the premiere of "My People, My Country" held in Beijing, Sept. 28, 2019. [Photo courtesy of Bravo Entertainment]

"My People, My Country" will also revive the fond memories and get closer to the heartstrings of Hong Kong people, as indicated by tearful statements by two Hong Kong veteran actors. 

"When I was young, I was begging food from foreigners in Hong Kong's red-light district, I had so many bitter and tough experiences in the past, and I always asked where I should belong," Hong Kong actress Kara Wai said, emotionally, "So, I kept waiting for answers for years, until the day when Hong Kong returned to China after it was lost for 154 years. On that day, I could say it loudly that I'm Chinese, I have a country at last. I'm so proud to tell everyone."

Simon Yam, who recovered from a horrific stabbing incident by a mentally ill man in July, attended the premiere. He echoed Wai's sentiment, saying: "On the day of Hong Kong's return, I felt it wasn’t just a return to the motherland, but the return of hearts. When the flag was raised, I felt like, 'We are home, we feel secured and assured.'"

"My People, My Country" is sweeping the Chinese film market, having presold more than 200 million yuan-worth of tickets so far before its opening on Sept. 30.

Its Chinese title, "Me and My Motherland", is borrowed from a household tender Chinese patriotic classic song originally performed by singer Li Guyi in 1985. The song was reworked by pop diva Faye Wong and its release triggered national discussions on social media. 

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