Front Page of the Day

Feng Xiaogang defends his tearjerker

Oriental Guardian, July 27, 2010

Microblogs are a great resource for commuter newspapers. At just 140 characters, an entire microblog post can be quoted in a front page news-bite with enough space left over for a headline and short introduction.

Today's Oriental Guardian reproduces a post by director Feng Xiaogang, whose Aftershock (唐山大地震), a family drama set against the backdrop of the Tangshan and Wenchuan earthquakes, broke box-office records over the weekend.

With the box-office take for Aftershock skyrocketing, Feng Xiaogang has finally lashed out. In a microblog post yesterday, he replied to questions for the first time. "A certain expert commented that Aftershock has only tears but no feeling. This realization is not just unique: it is also displays great imagination. To be able to control the audience to the point of preventing their rush of tears from reaching their heart, to generate tears but not move the heart, requires technical ability far beyond that of Avatar. You'd basically have to join up with aliens. Your humble Feng has not mastered this sort of psychic power, so you've praised me too highly. Additionally, surveys show that cinemas in this country do not yet have plans to install oil sprayers to induce tears.

Feng also replied to accusations that he was exploiting a national disaster for profit

If this were the Cultural Revolution, charging Aftershock with "exposing national scars and exploiting a national tragedy for profit" would get me shot and my family would be billed for the bullet. And logically, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, Titanic, and Hibiscus Town would all have to be brought to justice. Because their crimes are trading on fallen warriors, trading on the plight of the Jewish people, trading on the victims of a shipwreck, and trading on the victims of the Cultural Revolution. This age has finally made progress. I am fortunate, but fears linger.

The paper's cover photos pair a submarine, which illustrates a story on the US-South Korea war games going on off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, with an image taken in the DPRK, whose 57th anniversary of Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War is observed today.

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