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Shooting from a new perspective (3)

By Sun Li (China Daily)

17:00, August 01, 2012

Shenzhou II, which depicts astronauts on a manned space mission, broadens the boundary of war films.

Representing this change is Taihang Mountain (2005), a film about the first three years of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

Instead of centering on former chairman Mao Zedong, a common protagonist in films set during this period, the movie omitted Mao and focused on Zhu De, another army leader.

Another example is My Long March (2006), which depicts the famous military maneuver led by the Communist Party of China, from 1934 to 1936, from a child soldier's perspective.

Song Yeming, a director with the studio, believes modern war movies need to cater to the post-1980s audience.

In Song's The First of August (2007), a film about the birth and the rise of the PLA, Hong Kong actor Ray Lui plays the general Ye Ting.

Using Hong Kong stars, rather than "special-type" actors who have a strong physical resemblance to political leaders, is a trend in today's war films as Hong Kong casts can enlarge the film's appeal to the mainland's young audience, Song observes.

Even if the changes work, war films are not likely to be as popular as they used to be, August First's Liu says.

"In peacetime, the army's mission has changed from attacking, to defending the country. So the angle and the subject of today's war films also require modification," Liu says.

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