The biggest movie screen in China, as big as a basketball court,
was recently set up at the Beijing Workers' Gymnasium. It's part of
a competition, not in sport, but at the box office. It claims to be
the grandest premiere ever held in China, that of Chinese veteran
director Feng Xiaogang's war epic film "Assembly", which premiered
in Beijing on Tuesday night, December 18. It received an
overwhelmingly joyous response from ten thousand audience
Cast members of Assembly
including (from left to right)Wang Baoqiang, Liao Fan, Tang Yan, Li
Naiwen, Deng Chao and Zhang Hanyu attend the ceremony held at the
Beijing Workers' Gymnasium on Tuesday night, December
The premiere was studded with more than just stars. Over one
hundred celebrities including lead actors Zhang Hanyu and Deng
Chao, and comedy stars Zhao Benshan and Fan Wei were invited to
walk the red carpet. Hosted by Zhang Guoli, Feng's best friend, the
ceremony invited actresses cooperating with Feng Xiaogang, from Xu
Fan to Fan Bingbing, to give their heartfelt wishes for the success
of the new film. Even super Korean pop group Shinhwa flew in from
Shanghai to perform at the ceremony. After the performance section,
a soldier appeared on stage and blew the assembly call, meaning the
movie screening would commence.
Hosting such a movie premier at Beijing Workers' Gymnasium
sounds like mission impossible for it is not designed to do so. For
this reason the host, the Huayi Brothers Media Group, invited a
famous sound-effects team to solve the problem, making the movie
sound better than in the theatre.
The traditional assembly call is a signal to start battle in
wartime, around which the plot of the film is centred. But this
call also evidenced the producer's desire to win the nation's
year-end box office battle. Director Feng tells media he is
confident that box office income will exceed 150 million yuan, or
20 million US dollars.
Director Feng Xiaogang
gives a speech at the ceremony held at the Beijing Workers'
Gymnasium on Tuesday night, December 18.
The film is based on a true story: a company of soldiers were
ordered to fight until they heard the call to assembly. But the
call never came and everybody died, except one. Years later, the
lone survivor started searching for the remains of his fallen
comrades, trying to prove that they all died as real heroes.
Such a touching story did reach to the bottom of audiences'
hearts. Many of them wanted to see it again with their families.
Mrs Xu, a loyal fan of Feng Xiaogang, is one of them.
"After seeing the movie, I am deeply moved. Many people
sacrificed their lives for our current beautiful life. We should
cherish today's hard-earned life and respect these real
The film will open to Chinese audiences from December 20.
(CRI December 19, 2007)