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Aftershock (2010) @ 唐山大地震

Would you save your daughter or your son first?

Xu Fan's powerhouse turn.
At a glance:
Chinese filmmakin ace Feng Xiao Gang (Assembly 2007, The Banquet 2006) has made IMAX screens in China a rippling goldmine with the Hua Yi Brothers-backed Aftershock 唐山大地震 - a tearjerkin triumph of Mainland cinema that is at once more marketable to other regions than the usual fare due to its high production values. It also bears the unlikely distinction of being the first IMAX film that isn't created Stateside. Drawing from the 1976 Great Tangshan earthquake that had a death toll which is controversially contested up until today to be anything from 200,000 lives to three times that, Aftershock is a fictionalised story set during a real-life event (like Titanic 1997) and benefits from the unflinching powerhouse portrayal of the filmmaker's actress wife Xu Fan (One Foot Off The Ground 2006, The Founding Of A Republic 2009) as a mother who had to painfully choose between saving her son or saving her daughter during the atrocities of natural disaster. It is a strong, textured drama with very decent CGI work that doesn't detract from the primary focus of buildin on themes of guilt, abandonment, closure and redemption - essentially a film all of the Chinese diaspora worldwide can relate to. Sparin you a more detailed synopsis is probably the best idea considerin its epic landscape of a story that encompasses events such as Mao Zedong's death.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Ahh I jumped the gun on this one, me. I came back from the Singaporean premiere with a chest stirrin with emotions and gave it five stars. When the euphoria died down I realised I was very impressionable. I blame Xu Fan's incredible performance.
Perennial wonderment:
Just how far have we come from the traditional patriarchal importance of a male heir? Not far, I assure you.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
The five-star performances in Aftershock (includin Zhang Jing Chu's role as the adult daughter) are a definitely highlight, not to mention its high entertainment value in balancin drama and action, just like Assembly. One can only hope that movies such as this, despite the fiction, serve to remind people the importance of family and just how much emotional resonance is left behind by natural disasters. Aftershock is a first grade tearful testament to that.
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