New crime thriller offers warmth and humanity

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 13, 2022
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A new critically acclaimed Chinese crime thriller titled "The Fallen Bridge" shot in Sichuan province delivers warmth, redemption and humanity as the cruel truths behind a heart-wrenching case are uncovered.

Cast and crew of "The Fallen Bridge" pose for a group photo at a press event promoting the new film, Aug. 11, 2022. [Photo courtesy of Dark Horse]

The haunting story begins when a human skeleton is discovered after a bridge collapses, revealing a murder case from years ago. The daughter of the deceased, Wen Xiaoyu, is then assisted by a boy, Meng Chao, in her quest to find out the cause of her father's death.

The film is directed by renowned Chinese art house filmmaker Li Yu, and features young stars Ma Sichun and Karry Wang, alongside veteran actor Fan Wei. All of them deliver impressive and convincing performances in the film.

"This film is not about guessing who the murderer is, but about how to face the world, and face yourself," director Li said at a press event on Thursday in Beijing. "My previous films showed the humanity in daily life. This time, I wanted to show the human heart through a criminal case. I hope everyone can find and see the light and love from it. "

The film was shot in the cities of Nanchong and Mianyang as well as rural parts of Sichuan province, and its dialogue is almost entirely in the local dialect. Karry Wang, a former child superstar from boy band TFBoys, makes his acting breakthrough in the film. The idol is barely recognizable with his dirty face and disheveled look, revealing a new side of himself to audiences. Meanwhile his co-star actress Ma Sichun also delivers a powerful and realistic performance.

A poster for the movie "The Fallen Bridge." [Image courtesy of Laurel Films]

"The Fallen Bridge" features marvelous cinematography — every frame of the film is well-composed and has a powerful depth. Cinematographer Zeng Jian also shared his unique approach to shooting the film, using long shots and long takes to capture the actors' emotions, as well as a unique monitor filming perspective and hidden filming. "At one point I placed a camera inside a pack basket to record Ma and Wang walking along the street to capture the realness. We managed to hide and walked among the people — no one recognized us until the shooting was over," Zeng remembered.

"I was touched by the performances of Ma Sichun and Karry Wang,” the cinematographer added. “Their roles have so many painful burdens and biting experiences on them. I felt heartbroken for them. The sentiment was transmitted to me, and infected me."

"The Fallen Bridge" not only demonstrates the struggles faced by women, which is something the director has always excelled at, but also goes deep into examining human nature. The protagonist fights for truth through her pain, and the audience will no doubt feel inspired, explained executive producer Fang Li. "Everyone encounters difficulties and problems in their life, and there may be times when they feel despair and no way out. I hope that after watching this movie, those who are suffering can breathe a sigh of relief in their daily life."

In 2016, Fang, as a producer of the late director Wu Tianming's posthumous film "Song of the Phoenix," became known after he staged a publicity stunt by kneeling down in an online broadcast, crying and begging Chinese movie theater owners for more screen time. It worked, and later prompted a lot of discussion online about the current status and future of Chinese art house films. 

This time, it seems that Fang doesn't need to go to such lengths. More than one million people have already expressed their intention on movie ticketing platforms Maoyan and Taopiaopiao to go see "The Fallen Bridge," which hits Chinese theaters on Saturday, Aug. 13. Meanwhile, presales nationwide had already exceeded 30 million yuan by Friday.

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