'The Soul' blazes another path for Chinese sci-fi

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, January 10, 2021
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Chinese mystery sci-fi thriller "The Soul" is emerging as another step forward in China's sci-fi filmmaking ambitions.

Director Cheng Wei-hao and actor Chang Chen appear on a big screen at the Chinese premiere of "The Soul" via video link to interact with the audience in Beijing, Jan. 7, 2021. [Photo courtesy of Table Film]

The film, directed by Cheng Wei-hao and starring Chang Chen and Ning Chang, relates the story of a mysterious murder of a business tycoon in the near future and a controversial technology of memory transplants for rebirth. It was made by a cast and crew mostly from Taiwan province, adapted from a 2012 award-winning novella by Chinese mainland sci-fi writer Jiang Bo.  

Director Cheng and actor Chang were not present at the Chinese premiere, but they interacted with the audience via video link. The director revealed he was attracted by the novella, then his father's passing due to cancer made him feel more deeply about the themes of life and love. 

"Besides mystery and suspense, love is actually the ultimate theme I want to convey in this movie and I dedicate this film to my parents," he said.

Cheng, who has proven good at making horror films such as "The Tag-Along," made "The Soul" a dark story full of twists and turns, and ghostly mystery, touching subjects of life and death, emotions and laws, as well as science and ethics.

Chang Chen, who plays a dying prosecutor, gives one of his most powerful and impressive performances. To be like a real patient suffering from malignant tumors, Chang underwent a regime to lose weight of more than 12 kilograms. 

"The film is really about bonds of humanity. My character is very humane," he explained.

Jiang Bo, the author of the original novella, was impressed by the film's final cut at the premiere on Thursday. But actually, the film is quite different from his own story. He said, "My original story is a bit like playing a puzzle game; now, the film is more of a detective story and portrays deeply interpersonal human emotions. I was in tears several times. I feel very proud that my novella has been adapted into a film like this."

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