1981-1990ChinaFifth Generation Chinese CinemaWarZiniu Wu

Ziniu Wu – Wan zhong AKA Evening Bell (1989)

Five Eighth-Route army soldiers induce a isolated Japanese squad to capitulate.

Set on the end of WWII, Evening Bell follows a battle-hardened band of five Chinese soldiers struggling across a remote landscape wracked by post-armistice horrors. Stumbling from one grim aftermath to the next, they bury piles of the dead, help terrified peasants disarm landmines and save a Japanese officer from dying of exposure. When the officer leads them to a detachment of thirty-three starving Japanese soldiers, the film becomes a tension-filled standoff. In his films Wu Ziniu attempts to lead audiences below the surface of war to focus on human relationships instead of ideology. Needless to day, his approach to this genre has brought him criticism within China. (His third feature Dove Tree, about the Chinese-Vietnamese Border war, is still banned for its sympathetic treatment of the enemy.) Initially shelved, Evening Bell has now been released, though in an extensively re-cut version. The film’s forbidding subject is transfused with humanity as Wu Ziniu skillfully counterpoints cinematographer Hou Yong’s (Horse Thief, SFIFF 1988) stunning images with his actors’ wrenching performances. Wu conveys the surprisingly hopeful theme that, despite execrable acts committed in extremis, the most implacable of enemies may share a spark of empathy. George Eldred

1.44GB | 1h 25m | 735×490 | mkv


Subtitles:English (hardcoded)

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