On Screens
Published: Jun 23, 2022 07:14 PM
On Screens

On Screens

Movie 'Lighting up the Stars': Bringing taboo topics to the big screen

Editor's Note:

In 2018, an unexpected movie Dying to Survive shocked moviegoers with a story based on real life: A Chinese leukemia patient who smuggles cheap but unproven cancer medicine from India for Chinese cancer patients. Similarly, many movies and TV series have continued blowing people's minds with advancements in technology. 

This column will introduce upcoming or just-released movies or TV series so readers may learn more about China through this industry.

The soon-to-be-released drama film Lighting up the Stars tackles a taboo topic that nevertheless cannot be avoided: death and funerals. 

The story unfolds as the film follows Mo Sanmei, a mortician who rescues an orphan girl, Wu Xiaowen, from accidentally being cremated. As the two start working together in the funeral industry, the film reflects the realities of the industry as well as people's thoughts on death.

In a recent interview with the Beijing News, the film's director Zhang Jiangjiang explained that he drew upon his childhood experiences living in a village deeply involved in the funeral industry.

"I came from a family line of carpenters who would help make coffins for villagers. Since I was little, I have seen many types of wooden coffins made from black locust or pine trees. I followed them to different household funerals where there were many activities such as opera performances and movie screenings." 

The deep understanding of funerals in Chinese villages inspired him to write stories for newspaper columns when he was working as a journalist.

The director noted that he found these rich experiences very rewarding. 

The movie, which has been showing previews across the country since June 19, currently has a high score of 9.6/10 on online movie ticketing services including Maoyan and Taopiaopiao.