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Cinematic spy thriller has real-life repercussions

By Xu Fan | | Updated: 2023-11-06 15:45
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Actor Zhang Yi (center) attended a press conference for his upcoming espionage thriller Seven Killings in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Nov 3. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Five years after Gao Qunshu wrapped up shooting Seven Killings, a spy thriller adapted from award-winning novelist Mai Jia's best-selling novel of the same title, the director reunited with the cast during the recently concluded China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival.

Set in Nanjing in 1940 during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), the movie revolves around enigmatic agent Jin Shenshui, played by Zhang Yi. While hiding his real identity, Jin risks his life to navigate between multiple forces, from the Japanese army and the Wang Jingwei-controlled puppet government, to the Kuomintang.

Zhang, who appeared at a news conference on Friday in the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province, host of the festival for the last five years, said that the movie holds great personal significance.

"The film was something of a turning point for me in terms of performance. Despite the brutal nature of the story, I was encouraged and cared for by Gao throughout filming, and have become more confident in my acting since then," he said.

In the past five years, Zhang has earned a number of major honors, among them the Best Actor award at the 18th Huabiao Film Awards and the 36th Hundred Flowers Awards.

Seven Killings gets its domestic release on Nov 24.

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