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The Assembly

A 2007 Chinese war-drama film directed by Feng Xiaogang.

April 26, 2008 6:30pm to 8:30pm

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The story begins in 1948 somewhere in an unnamed city during Huaihai Campaign one of the bloodiest battle in Chinese Civil War with Gu Zidi a captain of the 9th Company from the 139th Regiment Central Plains Field Army giving the KMT army a chance to surrender. After entering a KMT trap, Gu Zidi's company fought fiercely but suffered heavy losses, including his political officer, leaving just 46 survivors under his command.

In a fit of rage, he ordered his men to kill the surrendering Nationlists after shooting one, which led to his disciplinary punishment and three days imprisonment by his Colonel Liu. During jailtime Gu Zidi befriended Wang Jincun, an intellectual and pacifist whom was imprisoned for cowardice, his punishment exactly for urinating in battle out of fear.

Gu Zidi and his remaining men were being sent to defend the mines in South bank of Wen River, it is a stragic position to oversee the Nationalists, he enlisted Wang Jincun as his new commisar. Colonel Liu ordered Gu Zidi to defend the flank and not to retreat his position until he hear the bugle call for assembly with the regiment, even if its down to the last man.

Gu Zidi and his 47 comrades fought fiercely against wave after wave of Nationalist army and battle tanks against all odds, while waiting for the bugle call for assembly, because of Gu Zidi stubbornly tells his men to to wait for the call, the battles cost the life of his 47 men. During the lull of battle Gu Zidi and Wang Jincun buried the remainder of their comrades in the mines before doing a suicide attack against a new wave of Nationalist attack.

Two months later, it is found out that Gu Zidi was the only survivor from the South bank defence, since he didn't hear the bugle call, he followed the order to fight to fight to the last man. Though some of his men insisted that they "heard" the bugle in order to retreat, instead Gu Zidi told his men that those who "heard" the bugle can leave the trenches, which none did. During his stay in the hospital, he found out that his 139th regiment was written off from the records much to his despair.

Instead of leaving the army as a civilian, Gu Zidi went to fight in the Korean War in 1952, posing as an artillery expert, during that time he befriended a young officer named Zhao Erdou whom Gu later saved from being killed by a landmine, but sacrificed his right eye from the explosion in exchange for the bombardment of American positions after fooling an American tank convoy, as they were disguised as South Korean soldiers, the Americans did not shoot, the tank convoy, whose leader climbed down, inquired them only to find a landmine under Zhao, they were left alone as Gu zidi holds down Zhao's boot on the landmine, he remembers his comrades who died, and released his grip in a desperate hope of rejoining them in the netherworld.

Forward to 1955, Gu Zidi returned back to South Bank, in search of the remains of his 47 men he buried in the mines and to bring honor to their families with status of Killed in action instead of the less honorable missing in action. With the help of Zhao Erdou whom rose as a high ranked officer and Wang Jincun's widow. It turns out that the battlefield he fought 7 years ago turned into a coal mine thus making his search difficult. Also Gu Zidi found out that colonel Liu whom died from an explosion in 1948, never ordered the bugler to sound assembly call as Gu Zidi was in the middle of a fierce battle and thus would attract the attention of Nationalist army to destroy the whole 139th regiment. Gu Zidi forgave Colonel Liu's betrayal at his grave for not sounding the assembly call after an emotional confrontation.

In 1958 the officials finally posthumously awarded Gu Zidi and his 47 comrades in his 9th company with Medal of Valor for heroism by the People's Liberation Army after they finally found the mine where the bodies of his men where buried, a monument labeled as the grave of the ninth company was erected with a lage red star on top, the general in command of Gu zidi's regiment, General Zhang honours them with a few officals, the former bodyguard and bugler for Colonel Liu finally sounded the bugle, which the 9th company has died waiting for, the 47 men can finally rest in peace.

The movie ends with the text telling us that Gu Zidi past away in 1987 at the age of 71 years old. He was buried together with his 47 men, it memorably recalls the moment when Gu zidi and his men were crossing the bridge to the coal mine, Gu zidi looked back at where he had come from several times before sprinting towards his men.