Epidemic-themed film and television works on the rise in China

By Ji Yuqiao Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/27 19:16:29

A Chinese doctor in Wuhan Photo: VCG

As the COVID-19 epidemic comes under control in many places throughout China, film and television projects about fighting the coronavirus have begun shooting or are already releasing. 

A coronavirus-themed Chinese film was released in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province on Sunday. Zuimei Nixing (Lit: The Most Beautiful Retrogradation) focuses on the support that medical workers living in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province provided to Wuhan when the outbreak was at its peak. 

Renowned Chinese respiratory scientist Zhong Nanshan makes an appearance in the film, the first such movie to release after Chinese cinemas reopened on July 20. Zhong also gave his inscription of the film's title that was used in posters for the film. 

Another film focusing on Chinese medical workers' efforts to fight the COVID-19 epidemic is currently in pre-production. To get ready for the shoot, the production crew met with Zhong to discuss the film.

An employee with the Bona Film Group, the studio producing the film, told the Global Times that the team interviewed hundreds of medical workers from Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital who fought on the frontlines during the COVID-19 outbreak, including Zhong, as part of their research for the film. 

While both films got in touch with the top respiratory scientist, who played a significant role in China's battle against coronavirus, endorsements from top experts are not enough for film or television works to be successful.

Film critics have said that these types of films need to portray the typical experiences of people as they battled against the virus. 

"The first thing to do is to distinguish news from vivid stories, and portray humanity as well as the feelings of ordinary people during the epidemic," Shi Wenxue, a teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times on Monday.

He noted that the films telling good stories can turn data into real people's stories who can touch audiences' hearts. 

Shi Chuan, vice chairman of the Shanghai Film Association, added that in addition to portraying the positive aspects of the fight, these works should also show audiences some of the problems and failures that had been experienced, which can make these works feel more real.

In addition to films and dramas, traditional Chinese opera is also dipping its toe in the new genre. Peking Opera Chuzheng Qianye (lit: The Night Before Expedition), about doctors in East China's Jiangsu Province working in Wuhan, has been playing on stage in Jiangsu since June 30.

Since these works have very similar themes and stories, they will have to depend on detailed plots and narrative techniques in order to stand out.

Posted in: FILM

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