Battling stereotypes

By Wang Kaihao ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-07-09 07:55:15

Battling stereotypes

Baituan Dazhan depicts one of the biggest battlefield victories of Chinese soldiers in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).[Photo provided to China Daily]

A new big budget movie about the war against the Japanese aims at authenticity rather than propaganda, Wang Kaihao reports.

A new war epic aims to shake off the stereotypes of Chinese mainstream revolutionary films, according to its makers.

Baituan Dazhan (The Hundred Regiments Offensive, although the official English title of the film is yet to be decided) will premiere on Sept 1, two days before the 70th anniversary of the victory of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

"I understand Chinese audiences have got used to Hollywood-style battle scenes, but we wanted to tell a story on China in a Chinese way," said the director Ning Haiqiang at a news conference in Beijing last week.

The film depicts a 1940 campaign by the 108 regiments of the Eighth Route Army, which was led by Communist Party of China, in several provinces in northern China. Although the number of casualties varies, the campaign is generally believed to have cost Japan and its collaborators more than 20,000 soldiers. It is hailed by the Party as one of its biggest battlefield victories and is considered a milestone in the war.

Ning points out Chinese soldiers in that campaign mostly used light arms, and some of their tactics have not been seen in other productions about World War II.

"Tank and cannon fire always looks good on the big screen, but we have to respect history," Ning tells China Daily, saying that exaggerations in TV series about the war have provoked strong criticism from viewers.

"Historical authenticity is a major concern, and I believe the Chinese-style war scenes revealing our own people's wisdom and courage can be equally intriguing for audiences."

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