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"Back to 1942",epic details famine in Henan[Video]


11:24, November 13, 2012

Chinese director Feng Xiaogang (4th L), together with cast members and creators pose on the red carpet for the premiere of the film "Back to 1942" at the 7th Rome Film Festival in Rome,capital of Italy, late Nov. 11, 2012. (Xinhua/Wang Qingqin)

After a 20 year struggle, Chinese Director Feng Xiaogang has finally managed to bring his epic detailing the 1942 famine in Henan Province to the screen. Three million Chinese died during the devastating famine - one of the darkest moments in Chinese history. The film premiered at the Rome Film Festival.

"Back To 1942 " is a gut-wrenching story of a landlord named Fan, played by Zhang Guoli, as he and his family are forced to joins millions of starving refugees fleeing Henan.

Director Feng Xiaogang said that just getting the film made was a challenge of its own.

Director Feng Xiaogang said, "Three times I tried to make this film without success. The first failure was in 2000. This after I started writing the screenplay in 1993, after reading the book. The second failure was in 2002, then the third failure was in 2004. Only in 2010 did we manage to succeed in starting production."

Among the many problems facing Feng during that time was money. That’s an issue that no longer dogs him today.

Feng said, "Twenty years on, thanks to my commercial films, I am now the wealthiest director in China. This has allowed me to gamble with this film. It will come out on the 29th of November, and be shown in 8 thousand theaters across China. Let’s hope it goes well."

Actress Xu Fan plays the landlord’s daughter - sold off in exchange for food along the way.

Xu said, "Thanks to this film, I’ve gotten to know more about that era. Experiencing that history, I learned to appreciate how easy my life is today. During the filming, it was important to let go of all that I had learned about acting in the past and start again from zero. That way I was able to get closer to the women of that era."

The film also follows the parallel story of American journalist Theodore White - who finds himself shocked by what he sees in Henan.

“Back to 1942” is based on the true story "Remembering 1942" written by Liu Zhenyun.

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