China's 'Aftershock' Hits UK Screens

Tearjerking Disaster Epic Trailer
China's 'Aftershock'
When disaster movie 'Aftershock' was released in China this summer it took over $100 million dollars at the box office. It's no surprise then that it's been snapped up by US and UK distributors respectively and potentially selected to represent China as the entry for next years Oscar for best Foreign Language Film.

Ostensibly the plot focuses on the 1976 Tangshan Earthquake which lasted only 23 seconds but ended the lives of over 240,000 people. In other words, one of the largest natural disasters in living memory. As making films to pass the Chinese censors is always a delicate exercise it's clear this won't be a film of criticism; of government or otherwise.

What we have instead is a tale of heartbreaking decision making and it's far reaching repercussions. Director Feng Xiaogang delivers a movie that isn't just about special effects (although they are many). Instead it relates to us the disaster and it's aftermath on an intimate human scale.

At the very heart of the story is a mother who's twins are trapped beneath the rubble. But as the children are so close together and digging them out is fraught with difficulties, the mother is forced into a harrowing 'Sophie's Choice' type situation in which she must choose only one child to save. Suffice to say that the emotional trauma of this and it's fallout are what drive the plot of the film.

Only the first 20 minutes or so focus on the disaster itself which is probably just as well as it looks dauntingly visceral in the trailer (see below). The remainder is spent tracing the relationships of the characters we are initially introduced to, right up to the present day. It's a big budget extravaganza that is simultaneously a intimate portrayal of choice under extreme circumstance and ultimately a message about understanding and forgiveness.

Check it out when it hits cinemas on November 12th in the UK.


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