2017 Chinese war film ‘Defenders’ capture audiences’ attention during 75th anniversary of Japan’s surrender

By Xu Yelu Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/18 21:03:48

Promotional material of Defenders Photo: Snapshot of Sina Weibo

As Chinese blockbuster The Eight Hundred earned more than 20.38 million yuan ($2.95 million) at the box office during prescreening events over the weekend, which also marked the 75th anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender announcement, another Chinese war film was grabbing people's attention on the small screen. 

On Monday, 2017 war film Defenders aired on China Movie Channel (CCTV-6). 

Defenders, adapted from the true story of General Yao Ziqing, follows a ragtag group of Chinese soldiers in 1937 as they attempted to protect Shanghai's Baoshan district from Japanese troops. Despite heavy odds, a disparity in firepower and outdated equipment, General Yao of the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) led 600 soldiers in a bloody defense that lasted seven days and nights. In the end, they all bravely gave their lives for their country.

Both The Eight Hundred and Defenders are a tribute to the NRA soldiers who gave their all during the Battle of Shanghai at the beginning of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45). While these recreations of history remind Chinese people of a painful past, they have earned praise for giving audiences the opportunity to learn more about the sacrifices the NRA soldiers made for them many decades ago.

Defenders currently has a 7.6/10 on Chinese media review platform Douban.

After Defenders aired on Monday, many Chinese netizens took to social media to share their enthusiasm for the film and pay their respects to the NRA soldiers. 

"I highly recommend this film. It's a movie that only received a little publicity but it is of high quality. It's so incredible that they could make this kind of movie on such a small budget," one netizen posted on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, receiving 2,116 likes. 

"I have watched this film three times. I feel so proud to be Chinese," posted another.

"This film ran counter to other Japanese resistance films produced by the Chinese film industry at the time," writes movie critic Andy Xie in a review on Douban. "It is not about individual heroism, but the power of unity and sacrificial spirit of Chinese soldiers. We shall never forget that." 

Posted in: FILM

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