The first ever peasant-themed Chinese film will premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Friday. The touching story, called "Dou Niu" or "Cow", was directed by sixth generation director Guan Hu from the Changchun Film Group, and will also be released around the country this weekend.
In winter 1940, the peasant Niu Er is unluckily burdened with the task of protection his village's special Dutch dairy cow, which supplies milk for wounded soldiers. Even when all the other villagers are massacred by enemy Japanese troops, Niu Er remains committed to protecting the cow. Loyal Niu Er outsmarts Japanese soldiers, starving refugees who abuse the cow's generous milk-giving, and greedy thugs who even try to slaughter the cow for meat.
Through their struggles, the relationship between Niu Er and the cow deepens into true bond. Niu Er will eventually put his own life on the line for the cow, unaware that the cow itself is capable of returning the life-saving gesture.
The film will screen in the Orizzonti category of the Venice Film Festival. And on Saturday afternoon in Changchun, a promotional party will be held with major members of cast and crew attending.
Director Guan Hu said, "Both Huang Bo and Yan Ni, I believe, are big draws for audience members. Also, there's a sense of humor throughout the show, Chinese style humor. "
The Changchun Film Group, which specializes in making war pictures, is heading in a new direction with the films like "Cow". Peasant-themed films now occupy around ninety-percent of the film maker's total output.
Two films in that total, "Classrooms on Clouds" and "Cow", are included on the list of films celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of new China.
(CCTV September 8, 2009)