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I really recommend the movie Aftershock . This film is a historical fiction that is based on the 1970's earthquake that killed about 250,000 ppl in a province of China. The director does a great job incorporating Confucius ideology such as respect for ancestors. The film is based on a women whose family was caught in the earthquake. She loses her husband and has to choose btw her twin children which one will live and die.... the rest is for you to see. It is very sentimental and you will probably cry. The film also shows living conditions of the period and the order of relationships in which Clay discussed with us during our first meeting.

(CD - made the subject line Aftershock)
edited by Clay Dube on 8/13/2012

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Message from edukleth

This film was ok but in my opinion not great. There were some terrific moments still, and great scenes depicting the Japanese invasion of not only China, but the treaty port zones of Shanghai from probably 1941. I say that because we all know that the invasion of China (proper) began in 1937. According to Prof. Dube, the western Treaty Port areas were left alone until 1941, but after Pearl Harbor were occupied by the Japanese military.
This movie depicts a 12 year old British boy who had been born and raised in Shanghai and when Japan invades, he gets separated from his parents and so he stays in his home until the food runs out and then takes to the streets looking for food but also needs to avoid danger as well. Eventually he gets placed in a POW camp with other British and Americans and they endure much of the war there a bit inland from Shanghai. One issue that pops up is whether or not to eat the bugs (weevils) in the food and despite the unsavory idea, it actually provides protein to the POWS.
I think this film is not focused enough on Asians in Asia as the main focus is on western POWS and the young teenaged Jim Graham. So I would dissuade anyone from showing or watching this film for the purpose of teaching Asian History. It is not a bad film in general but not for the purpose already mentioned!

clay dube
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Message from Clay Dube

Just to follow up on Eric's excellent observations, this Steven Spielberg film was based on J.G. Ballard's autobiographical novel. It features a very young Christian Bale. Bale, of course, returned to China last year to make "Flowers of War" under the direction of Zhang Yimou. Both films emphasize the experience of Westerners in China. Spielberg and Zhang are two of the most influential filmmakers working today. Here's a link to what Spielberg wrote about Zhang in Time magazine (explaining why he deserved consideration as the "person of the year"):,28804,1861543_1865103_1865107,00.html

Now -- a word on forum norms:
1. please use descriptive subject lines, for film reviews, the name of the film works well (Kim got this thread started by discussing Aftershock, a Feng Xiaogang film linking the 1976 and 2008 earthquakes. Eric's review of Empire of the Sun should be in the Empire of the Sun thread.)
2. if a film has already been reviewed by someone else, please "reply" to that review rather than starting a new thread
3. if no one else has reviewed the film, then please start a "new topic" for that film

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Message from eleyva

The film Aftershock was very engaging due to the director's way of showing the painfull choice that a mother makes in choosing to save her son instead of her daughter. It also depicts the love of a parent that overcomes separation and geography. I especially liked the way that the adoptive parents of the young girl were so willing to open their lives and filled the role of the parents in an unconventional situation.

The film also does a good job of showing the anguish that any mother would go through to make such a difficult choice. I felt that her choice was shaped by the preference that society in China has of males over females. The family undergoes a rebuilding process that is similar to the rebuilding that the earth shattered region also goes through. The recovery process is only made possible, however, because of the love that is at the heart of the film. I highly recommend this film.

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Message from aguzman

Wow!!! It sound like a movie that would interest my students and at the same time teach them about the human element in a country that is look upon as being dehumanized. I will make it point to watch this movie.