CHINA / SOCIETY
Overseas audiences excited about China's war epic released in the UK
Published: Nov 20, 2021 11:19 AM
A poster of the film the Battle at Lake Changjin. Photo: CFP

A poster of the film the Battle at Lake Changjin. Photo: CFP


Trinity Cine Asia released China's war epic "The Battle at Lake Changjin" in cinemas across the UK and Ireland on Friday. The film is currently the highest-grossing title in China as well as in the world so far in 2021, having earned more than 5.62 billion yuan ($879million) since its premiere in China on September 30, according to figures reported by the Xinhua News Agency. 

"It's a privilege for us to be able to release the biggest box office story of 2021, when cinemas are just seeing the first real shoots of recovery," said Trinity Cine Asia co-founder and director Cedric Behrel on November 12. 

"'Battle at Lake Changjin' presents a fresh viewpoint which hasn't been seen before, reframing the war film narrative we're used to seeing, but with production values to match Hollywood," Behrel said. "The film falls into the war film template of decisive battles that changed the course of history. It has hit a particular nerve with Chinese audiences ̶ maybe because most popular war films are made from a Hollywood or American perspective [such as those about] the Vietnam War."

Jointly directed by Chen Kaige, Hark Tsui and Dante Lam, "The Battle at Lake Changjin" is set during the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53), the Chinese participation in the Korean War, and tells the story of Chinese People's Volunteers soldiers fighting bravely in freezing temperatures in a key campaign at Lake Changjin, or Chosin Reservoir.

The story of young warriors willing to risk it all to defend their motherland against the world's best-equipped army, despite a lack of food and warm clothing amid the bitter cold, has moved many moviegoers to tears.

The Times commented on October 4 that "The world's highest-grossing film does not involve James Bond or a Marvel superhero but is a tub-thumping Chinese war epic that revels in a rare victory over America."

Kelly Wang, an international student studying at the University of Leeds, told the Global Times that after watching the film, she went back to school and recalled this period of history with her roommates in the UK. She thought it was a major step forward for Chinese films, which not only proved the perseverance and persistence of Chinese soldiers, but also gave people around the world an opportunity to re-learn and reflect on history.

 "It's no longer the time when Westerners decide most of the content of history," Wang noted. 
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