A few days ago, as the box office of the film “Changjin Lake: Water Gate Bridge” exceeded 4 billion yuan, the total box office of the “Changjin Lake” series of films reached 9.779 billion yuan, and the cumulative number of viewers exceeded 200 million. The series of films composed of “Changjin Lake” and “Changjin Lake’s Water Gate Bridge” broke many records in Chinese film history, and its creative process is also legendary. The film interprets the great spirit of resisting U.S. aggression and aiding Korea, and has also become a milestone of special significance in the development of China‘s film industry.
The script was changed from 130,000 words to 60,000 words. Three directors co-directed. The shooting cycle spanned two winters. A team of 7,000 or 8,000 actors was assembled, and 86 domestic and foreign post-production special effects production companies were integrated. Ten thousand… A few days ago, as the box office of the film “Changjin Lake: Water Gate Bridge” exceeded 4 billion yuan, the total box office of the “Changjin Lake” series of films reached 9.779 billion yuan, and the cumulative number of viewers exceeded 200 million. The “Changjin Lake” series of films has broken many records in Chinese film history. Behind the success is a battle full of mission by Chinese filmmakers.
“I hope this movie can make the martyrs remembered by more people, they are the most lovely people”
In July 2019, the “Changjin Lake” project was officially launched. This is a super-large-scale film, and the requirements for investment and creative personnel are extremely high. What is especially difficult is that the film is ready to be released in the fall of 2020 as a tribute film to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Volunteers’ overseas operations, and the time is tight.
Just when the filming team was just set up, at the beginning of 2020, the sudden epidemic forced the filming to be postponed for a year. Within a year, three directors, Tsui Hark, Chen Kaige and Lin Chaoxian joined the filming team successively.
“Filming the theme of the Battle of Changjin Lake is very stressful and meaningful.” Lin Chaoxian still remembers how he felt when he took over the script.
“After completing the division of the script and structure, there are more than a dozen coordination groups to coordinate and communicate with the costumes, actors, shooting plans, etc.” said director Huang Jianxin.
The tranquil and beautiful Jiangnan water town unfolds slowly like a picture scroll, and the soldier Wu Qianli returns home with the ashes of his elder brother Wu Baili. He told his parents that the war was over and a new house would be built for the family in the spring of the coming year. In a blink of an eye, a summoning order came from the army, and all the soldiers of the Seventh Company were summoned to return to the team, and Wu Qianli said goodbye to his family again.
This is the beginning of the movie “Changjin Lake”. “Returning to your hometown and going on an expedition for the country are connected to the country.” Chen Kaige said, “We need to show the cruelty of war and the meaning of sacrifice through movies. Only in this way can young people feel that victory is hard-won.”
Wang Shuzeng, a historical consultant, said that the Gaima Plateau, where the war occurred, belongs to the alpine zone. During the battle of Changjin Lake, the lowest temperature was even lower than minus 40 degrees Celsius. “Due to the limitation of national strength at that time, most of the soldiers who went to the battlefield did not have complete cold-proof clothing. The US military not only has first-class weapons and equipment, but also first-class clothing and equipment. In the midst of ice and snow, what will our army pay when the two armies fight? The cost of this can be imagined.” Wang Shuzeng said, “But even with such a gap in equipment, our army resolutely entered the DPRK to fight the invaders. Only by objectively showing such a gap can the greatness of the spirit be better highlighted.”
There is such a scene in the movie: After the joining ceremony on the train, Wu Wanli opened the car door. Outside the carriage, the Great Wall with the mountains and peaks came into view, shrouded in the glow of the sky, and the soldiers were shocked by what they saw. In the original script, this scene was not so magnificent at first, but Chen Kaige enlarged it: “The deepest impression on me of the Great Wall is that it has always existed tenaciously, and it is a spiritual symbol. It is a spiritual symbol to defend the enemy outside the country. A cart of people is the Great Wall of Flesh and Blood, and this implication is sublimated into a spiritual force.”
Chief producer Yu Dong said that making the film can be described as “a heavy responsibility and a glorious mission”. “‘Changjin Lake’ is a movie of our generation to resist U.S. aggression and aid Korea. I hope this movie can make the martyrs remembered by more people. They are the most lovely people.” Yu Dong said, “The volunteer soldiers of the year were not afraid. The strong enemy and the bloody battle have created a miracle in the history of world wars where the weak overcome the strong.
“Making this film well is not just a job, it’s a responsibility”
In “Changjin Lake”, Wu Qianli returned home from the battlefield. After seeing his younger brother Wu Wanli, they played and slapped together. Wu Qianli formed Wu Wanli into a “bun face”. This scene reappears in “Shuimen Bridge of Changjin Lake”. At the critical moment, Wu Qianli handed over the heavy responsibility to Wu Wanli, and he once again formed Wu Wanli into a “bun face”. Wu Jing, who plays Wu Qianli, said that this is actually an action he usually does when he is playing with his son. He applies it to the movie, hoping to make the characters more flesh and blood.
Chen Kaige especially emphasized the value and significance of characterization to the film, “A good film, in the final analysis, is a story about people.” The series of “Changjin Lake” films are based on the Seventh Company of the Hero Company and its brothers, “We I put a lot of effort into thinking about the two characters Wu Qianli and Wu Wanli, hoping to expand the brotherhood of the two to the entire Qilian, I think “Changjin Lake” is a battle story condensed by brotherhood.” Chen Kaige said.
In Wu Jing’s view, as a company commander, Wu Qianli is like a brother, who has to take care of the 157 soldiers of the whole company and hope that they will return home safely. “He bears a lot of emotions and responsibilities. He is a person with a soft heart and a strong appearance. .”
Wu Wanli’s actor Yi Yangqianxi said when talking about Wu Wanli’s role: “The war turned him into a real warrior. He no longer pursued becoming a hero, but gradually understood his mission.”
In Tsui Hark’s previous shooting experience, in most cases, the director proposed the desired effect, and then the actor achieved it, and this time shooting “Changjin Lake” made him experience an unprecedented feeling. “Actors have very high demands on themselves, often the level they want to achieve. This is an experience I have never had. I have never seen an actor in a crew who can keep discussing every scene, they and I The frequency of communication is almost once or even several times a day.” Tsui Hark said.
At the end of each day’s shooting, the actors would always get together to discuss how they were shooting today and how they were going to shoot tomorrow. “They turned themselves into a group and brought the emotions of life into the film, so every action in the film was very real. The characters in the story touched everyone, and making this film is not only a job, but also a job. It is a duty.” Huang Jianxin said.
“Everyone was very dedicated and tried their best to overcome all the difficulties”
Recalling the filming process of the film, “difficulty” is a word that directors cannot avoid. Sometimes there are 6,000 or 7,000 staff members working on the scene at the same time. Many scenes involve night scenes, and the production requires a lot of special effects synthesis… A series of problems beyond the scope of previous experience made the filming encounter a lot of challenges.
Huang Jianxin gave an example: “For example, the tank, our tank props can run. The tank was brand new when we filmed ‘Incheon Landing’, but it will be smashed later. If the coordination is not good, the shooting sequence is wrong, and the tank will be gone.”
“Coldness is the biggest problem.” Tsui Hark said, in order to make the audience feel more realistic, the filming was carried out in extremely low temperature, “It is difficult for ordinary people to speak normally, and the actors have to speak their lines and perform. “
In addition, when shooting scenes of fighting in the wind and snow, you can’t rely on natural wind and natural snow alone. In the crew, there are 3 teams in the hair dryer group. “This is a huge project. Every time a scene is changed, it takes a lot of manpower and time to arrange wind-making tools.” Tsui Hark said, making snow is even more difficult. The combination of the three types of snow floating in the background and on the face of the person, the snow on the ground also needs to consider safety issues, so that the actors can stand up and be able to complete the action smoothly.”
“The three directors did their best, each of them devoted themselves and tried their best to overcome all difficulties.” Huang Jianxin said, “Director Chen Kaige, who is very familiar with the history of confronting the U.S. aid to Korea, is responsible for grasping the historical tone, and giving full play to the portrayal and emotional expression of the characters. The ultimate; Director Tsui Hark, with his excellent film technology and grasp of commercial films, demonstrates imaginative aesthetic expressions; Director Lin Chaoxian strictly grasps action scenes and war scenes, allowing the audience to feel a strong and real experience.”
The filming process left a deep impression on the actors and also felt a lot. Wu Jing recalled that one day the lowest temperature was approaching minus 37 degrees Celsius, and the actors were wearing thick underwear, thermal clothing and thick cotton-padded clothes. When we arrived on the set, because the wind was not strong enough, the director arranged for the wind cannon to blow the snow. “The wind poured into the body along the neck, numb half of our face, and the tears could not stop flowing down, but we had to keep our eyes open.” Wu Jing said, “At that time, we thought that the soldiers of the Volunteer Army lacked food and clothing. But still tenaciously shouldering his responsibilities, it is awe-inspiring.”
“Chinese filmmakers have the responsibility and obligation to make their voices heard”
There are many war scenes in the “Changjin Lake” series of films. This effect depends on the technical support of special effects. “Nowadays, we use technology to realize movies, but we can’t think of it, but we can’t do it.” Yu Dong said, “In the past, we used aerial photography to shoot such large-scale war movies, and mobilized a team of more than 100,000 people to participate in the performance. It’s a real blast. But in “Changjin Lake”, the blasting point in front of the actor is very small, and it is amplified by special effects technology.”
“Changjin Lake” and “Changjin Lake: Water Gate Bridge” successively mobilized 86 post-production companies to participate in special effects work and technical support, most of which are Chinese companies. Yu Dong said: “We have assembled excellent domestic technical forces into these two films. This cooperation truly reflects the technical level of Chinese films and has reached the world-class level of similar themes.
Not only that, the design and implementation of each character’s shape, behavior, and emotion in the film have been tested for at least 10 rounds and fixed with thousands of drawings, so that all details can be accurately completed during shooting. “This is a particularly complicated production process.” Huang Jianxin said, “Changjin Lake” has established a “hub center” on the basis of the parallel shooting of the three director groups to uniformly handle shooting needs, gather shooting materials, and complete the Post-production.
Yu Dong believes that the success of the two films is of great significance to the Chinese film industry. “When the film started shooting, from a global perspective, there were still relatively few films with a box office of more than 1 billion US dollars. The success of the “Changjin Lake” series of films is not only a simple matter of good box office performance, but also a milestone in boosting the confidence of the Chinese film industry. .” Yu Dong said.
Some netizens once asked if the movie “Changjin Lake” had “Easter Eggs”, and someone replied: “When you walk out of the theater and see our life today, the mountains and rivers are safe and sound, it is the biggest ‘Easter Egg’.”
Looking back on the filming process, Yu Dong said: “The international description of this war is mostly from a Western perspective. Chinese filmmakers have the responsibility and obligation to speak up and let the world know the truth of this war.”
Coordination of this issue: Cao Xuemeng Drawing: Cai HuaweiReturn to Sohu, see more