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A 2010 movie directed by Feng Xiaogang

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A little girl & A teddy bear

  • Aug 5, 2010
It is interesting how themes in a movie are used repeatedly. It is however astonishing to find two similar themes appearing one after another, within the span of a few hours, in two very different kinds of movies I picked. One is in a Chinese real event story while another in an animated American make-belief movie. How is that for one in a million chance of that happening? Well, it did for me a few days ago.

The two movies I’m referring to are “Aftershock” and “Toy Story 3”, in that order. I picked them up in DVDs just and had watched them in that order.

The event? A child believing she was deserted and how that had affected her life thereafter. In Toy Story 3, it’s a stuff toy being left behind by its owner. The pain of desertion.

Aftershock is a movie not just about 2 major earthquakes in China per se. It is a drama about how a child in the 1976 Tangshan earthquake (a real event which killed over ¼ million of Chinese) was in a rubble with her twin brother and when she heard her mother chose her brother over her to be saved (a choice the mother was forced to make, it’s a case of either or), her tiny soul more or less “died” that day.  Her mom thinking she was dead moved on to live with her twin brother who lost his arms in that very earthquake. The young girl (unbeknownst to her mom) survived and was adopted by a kind couple. However, despite having many chances to look for her family, in her youth and hurt soul, she didn’t. Not until the 2008 Sichuan earthquake (another real event which has since become the 2nd most serious earthquake in the history of China) did she reunites with her brother. It is a human story; one of survival and one of forgiveness.

The director Feng Xiaogang chose to portray two earthquakes with a human story. A story which beautifully incorporates Chinese values and human choices. We all made choices in life and those very choices shaped the way life turns out for us. Everyone more or less knows that. However, when choices are made for us due to certain circumstances and we are left with its aftermath, it is perhaps easier to forgive and to cope with our best effort. Hatred, in whatever form, may be a way of coping but is usually the worst and hardest way. That’s being demonstrated in these two extremely different (yet similar) movies.

These are two movies which will change the way you look at life thereafter. And there lies the success of both movies, imho. Movies that touch us emotionally are here to stay, within us, for a long long time. In that regard, it restores my hope in the movie industry. Yes, there are still good movies out there to catch, it’s a matter of choices. That choice lies with all of us.

A little girl & A teddy bear A little girl & A teddy bear

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August 21, 2010
That sounds like a great film and that is also crazy about Toy Story 3 comparing to it like that. Excellent review, I must see this.
August 22, 2010
Yes, they are both great movies. Departures is another one. As for crazy, haha, that I have been told :-)
January 01, 2011
Ok, Sharrie, I finally got the HK Dvd of this film and I posted a review for it: http://lunch.com/t/5zua
August 09, 2010
The title of this review made me think this was some Asian child porn or something. ;)
August 22, 2010
I wonder why...
August 06, 2010
toot toot! Sahrrie posted her first Asian movie review in this community--toot toot! Nice work, bud!
More Aftershock reviews
review by . January 01, 2011
posted in ASIANatomy
4 ½ Stars: What Would You Do, When You Have To Choose Who Lives And Who Dies?
Disaster movies have always been tagged and made as something other than what they should be, and sometimes more. A) They are sometimes tagged as a spectacle with little respect for the reality behind the story. (Example: “Titanic”) B) Something to appease “popcorn entertainment” sensibilities through the use of special effects (Example: “2012“, “Volcano”) C) To display the strength of the human spirit and their ability to do heroic deeds (Example: …
Quick Tip by . July 30, 2010
An excellent movie which spans 2 earthquakes (1976 Tangshan earthquake which killed more than 1/4 million people & 2008 Sichuan earthquake which killed almost 70,000, injured over 1/4 million & made 4.8 million homeless). The movie is not about earthquakes per se but centered on the story of people who survived the earthquake instead. Very touching movie. Highly recommended!
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Sharrie ()
Ranked #3
I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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About this movie


Aftershock or Aftershocks (ChinesepinyinTángshān Dàdìzhèn) is an upcoming 2010 Chinese drama film directed by Feng Xiaogang. The film stars Xu Fan and Zhang Jingchu, with a supporting cast including Li Chen.[2] Scheduled for release in China on July 22, 2010, it will be the first IMAX film created outside the US.


In the aftermath of the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, a rescue team informs a mother that her seven-year-old twins Da and Deng are trapped together under a slab of concrete. Lifting the slab in any way will kill one of her children - lifting it one way will save the daughter at the expense of her son; lifting it the other will save the son at the expense of her daughter. Heartbroken, she is forced to choose between her children, and finally decides to save the boy. Her decision, however, is overheard by her daughter, who whispers "Ma..." as the screen goes black. The mother clings to her daughter's body before being pulled away to take care of Da, "her one child who still lives." Later, in the midst of the rains following the earthquake, Deng wakes up in a sea of bodies, next to the body of her father. Reluctant to be returned to the woman who chose to abandon her, Deng is adopted, but remains emotionally scarred.

In 2008, she volunteers to join rescuers in the wake of the Sichuan ...

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