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In Tangshan, the truck driver Da Qiang, his wife Yuan Ni and their twins Fang Da, their son, and Fang Deng, their daughter, are a happy simple family. On 27 July 1976, a devastating earthquake destroys Tangshan, and Da Qiang dies while trying to rescue his children from their apartment. When a collapsed beam traps Fang Da and Fang Deng, Yuan Ni is forced to decide between saving her son or daughter and she chooses Fang Da. However, her daughter Fang Deng overhears her mother's choice and miraculously survives. She is rescued by a soldier and adopted by Mr. Wang and his wife with the name Wang Deng. Thirty-two years later, after an earthquake in China, Wang Deng, now married to a Canadian lawyer and living in Vancouver with her daughter, travels to China and voluntarily joins the rescue team. By chance she meets Fang Da and she learns the drama of Yuan Ni through all those years. The family is finally reunited at Yuan Ni's home, where bitterness is exposed and resolved. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In Japan, the movie, based on the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, was originally scheduled for nationwide release on 26 March 2011, but the distributor Shochiku has postponed the release "in view of the devastation caused by the earthquake [and tsunami that occurred on 11 March] and out of consideration for the victims and their families." See more »
When Fang Da and his girlfriend are driving along the freeway, the year is stated to be 1995 but there is clearly visible a MY 2005 VW Jetta through the driver side window. See more »
Mom, how have you managed all these years?
I've been doing quite alright.
How many 30 years are there in a woman's lifetime? Why did you do that?
Really, I've been doing quite alright. If I'd instead led a carefree life, I would be letting you down even more.
Mom, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. From the first moment I set eyes on Fang Da, I started to hate myself. He is my little brother... how wonderful that he has survived. Mom, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I've tortured you for 32 years.
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When I bought this movie from Amazon, I believed it to be a disaster movie in the likes of Hollywood movies such as "Volcano", "2012" and such. And the cover and text on the back of the cover didn't really let on to what this movie was, it all just showed something of a typical disaster movie.
So I wasn't prepared for what was ahead. Also because I hadn't done any research of reviews prior to buying (and watching) the movie. So I was in for one big surprise. There are those rare moments when you stumble upon something truly unique by sheer luck, and this was one such moment for me.
"Aftershock" blew me away. This movie is so much more than your average disaster movie. Sure there is a breathtakingly amazing disaster scene early on in the movie. And you just sit there with your hands clenched and biting your lip, because that whole part is so intense and so amazingly shot. It is like you are there right in the midst of the chaos. I will go as far as saying that the earthquake scene in this movie far outshines any of that I have seen in Hollywood disaster movies.
But "Aftershock" is not just a disaster movie, it is also a movie that has a very touching story to tell, a very sad and unfortunate story as well. But it tell its story in a very good way, without being too much. You really get immersed in the story, and it sweeps you off your feet and takes you along on an emotional roller-coaster ride. You might actually want to have some tissue at hand, because there are some very, very emotional scenes in this movie. It is also a story of emotions; a story of how our lives and fates can change in the blink of an eye.
The characters in "Aftershock" are very believable and they are so well portrayed on the screen by the actors and actresses. Each and every of the main characters are given so much room to grown and develop that you really get to feel with them, grow with them, feel their sadness, loss and happiness. And for this, the director was right on the money. This story was so well-told and well-shot that it is hard not to get caught up in the moment.
The 130 minutes that the movie is in length doesn't feel that long, because you get so caught up in the movie. I didn't leave the screen for a single moment. I just sat there mesmerized, wanting to see what happened next, what would happen to Fang Deng, Fang Da and everyone else.
I am a big fan of Asian cinema, though I had never heard about this movie prior to finding it by sheer luck on Amazon. Now that I have seen it, "Aftershock" will stay with me for a long, long time. It was one of the most emotional and honest stories I have had the pleasure of witnessing in a long, long time.
Even if you are not a fan of Asian cinema or have a phobia of watching movies in a foreign language, you should overcome that and do yourself the pleasure of sitting down to watch this movie, because it is really worth it. This movie is truly an amazing one, and it the story is one that deserves to be told.
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