Poignant & Grim Tale Of A Forgotten Chapter In The Chinese Civil War
Based on a novel by Bo Yang, a well known dissident in Chiang Kai-Shek ruled Taiwan (and later founding president of Taiwan's chapter of Amnesty International) and set in the Burmese-Yunnan border, the story starts with the fighting retreat of the Kuomintang 8th Army, together with their families, commanded by General Li Mi from Yunnan while being pursued by the Communist forces. The troops eventually find refuge in the Burmese side of the border and re-organise for what they hope is the eventual counterattack into mainland China.
The main protagonist in the movie is played by Tou Chung-Hua (庹宗華) and he gives a memorable performance as a line officer struggling to survive both the conflict as well as rebuild the semblance of a normal life for his refugee family. Andy Lau plays a relatively smaller role with more limited air time but the personal tragedy is portrayed very poignantly.
The other supporting cast put up very powerful performances as well, balancing the horrors of constant conflict with focus on personal stories and families torn apart by the horrors of war.
Nonetheless, the age of the movie does show and this subject matter deserves a new remake. It covers a often forgotten (perhaps on purpose) episode in the decades long Chinese Civil War that affected millions of people, and will find an audience in the descendents of the Chinese diaspora worldwide, many of which had their families directly affected by the conflict.
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