IMDb > Back to 1942 (2012)
Yi jiu si er
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guide
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Back to 1942 (2012) More at IMDbPro »Yi jiu si er (original title)

Photos (See all 21 | slideshow) Videos
Back to 1942 -- A deadly drought in 1942 takes its toll on central China's Henan province during the war against Japan.


User Rating:
6.9/10   2,490 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Up 22% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for Back to 1942 on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 November 2012 (China) See more »
A deadly drought in 1942 takes its toll on central China's Henan province during the war against Japan. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
24 wins & 11 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A big budget examination of another little known piece of Chinese history See more (17 total) »


  (in credits order)

Guoli Zhang ... Master Fan Dianyuan

Hanyu Zhang ... Brother Sim

Wei Fan ... Lao Ma
Yuanzheng Feng ... Xia Lu

Fan Xu ... Hua Zhi

Daoming Chen ... Chiang Kai-shek

Xuejian Li ... Li Peiji
Jingyi Yao ... Lingdang
Jiale Peng ... Liubao
Qian Li ... Master Fan's Daughter-in-Law (as Li Qian)
Huifang Yuan ... Master Fan's Wife
Shaohua Zhang ... Xia Lu's Mother
Ziwen Wang ... Xing Xing

Mo Zhang ... Shuan Zhu
Yi Zhao ... Master Fan's Son
Shu Zhang ... Dong Jiayao
Xiaojie Tian ... Officer

Lan Ke ... Soong May-ling
Guoqiang Zhang ... Guo Jiquao
Zhen Yu ... Jiang Dingwen
Morning Chang ... Chang / Tao-fan (as Chenguang Zhang)

Yongjian Lin ... County Magistrate

Tim Robbins ... Bishop Megan

Adrien Brody ... Theodore Harold White
Yihong Duan ... Chen Bulei
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nathaniel Boyd ... American Embassy Translator
Chun Du
Xu Guangyu ... Train station owner

Zhong Lü ... Zhang Fang's mother
Zhenyu Qiao ... Secretary Han

Alec Su ... T. V. Soong (aka Soong Tse-ven)
Jiahui Yang ... Orphan girl

Alfred Hsing ... Refugee (uncredited)

Directed by
Xiaogang Feng 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Zhenyun Liu  novel
Zhenyun Liu 

Produced by
Chen'an .... co-executive producer
Kuo-Fu Chen .... executive producer
Chengsheng Gao .... co-executive producer
Sanping Han .... producer
Xiaoli Han .... co-producer
Lorraine Ho .... co-executive producer
Xiaofeng Hu .... executive producer
Xiaofeng Hu .... line producer
Xiang Huang .... co-executive producer
Peter Lam .... producer
Stephen Lam .... co-producer
Shirley Lau .... co-producer
Albert Lee .... co-executive producer (as Yabo Li)
Chaoyang Li .... co-producer
Guangquan Liu .... producer
Wanli Liu .... co-producer
Zhengwei Ni .... co-producer
Yue Ren .... co-executive producer
Dai Song .... producer
Yiyang Wang .... producer
Zhongjun Wang .... producer
Zhonglei Wang .... executive producer
Bernard Yang .... associate producer
Wenhong Yang .... co-executive producer
Albert Yeung .... producer
Xia Yue .... co-executive producer
Dajun Zhang .... co-executive producer
Huali Zhang .... co-executive producer
Qiang Zhang .... co-executive producer
Yu Zhang .... co-producer
Duojia Zhao .... co-executive producer
Haicheng Zhao .... co-executive producer
Hongmei Zhao .... co-executive producer
Original Music by
Jiping Zhao 
Cinematography by
Yue Lü 
Production Design by
Haiying Shi 
Costume Design by
Tim Yip  (as Timmy Yip)
Production Management
Jason Pomerantz .... production manager (IMAX Version)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Elisa Jiang .... assistant director
Sound Department
Paul Hammond .... adr mixer
Erica Kram .... adr coordinator
Jiang Wu .... sound recordist
Ling Wu .... sound post-production supervisor
Visual Effects by
Cui Chen .... compositor: NAGA FX
Yongwoo Kim .... compositing supervisor: lead compositor (as Yong-Woo Kim)
Camera and Electrical Department
Remi Epron .... aerial pilot & technician
Tiantian Qian .... camera operator
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Rong Wang .... costume supervisor
Other crew
Alfred Hsing .... assistant: Adrien Brody
Alfred Hsing .... assistant: Tim Robbins
Elisa Jiang .... post-production coordinator

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Yi jiu si er" - China (original title)
See more »
145 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Official submission of China to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category.See more »
Movie Connections:


Why is this movie unrated in the USA?
See more »
9 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
A big budget examination of another little known piece of Chinese history, 23 February 2014
Author: Alan Chan from London

Labelled 'the Spielberg of China' with 15 box office successes in the last 20 years ranging from family-friendly comedies poking fun at China's materialistic culture to weightier, big budget historic epics such as 'Assembly', 'Aftershock' and now 'Back to 1942', Feng Xiaogang has become the most popular director of mainstream cinema in China. Yet, despite the work of Chinese directors such as Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou, Wong Kar-Wai and Ang Lee, Feng Xiaogang is virtually unknown to Western audiences, something that the Chinese government is attempting to put right by submitting 'Back to 1942' as the country's official Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film this year.

Adapted from the book 'Remembering 1942' by Liu Zhenyun, the film is a historical disaster epic following the fates of refugees during the drought and famine in Henan Province, which devastated the region and left 3 million dead of starvation during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45). As well as featuring famous Chinese stars such as Chen Daoming (Aftershock) and Zhang Hanyu (White Vengeance), the film is one of the few Chinese productions to boast Hollywood talent in the form of Oscar winner, Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins, recalling Christian Bale's turn in 'The Flowers of War' (2011) chronicling the Japanese attack on Nanking.

The film follows the fortunes of landlord Fan (Zhang Guoli), who with his family joins the mass exodus of people after their village is destroyed by bandits, leaving behind their privileged lifestyle and falling in with the desperate masses as they head west looking for solace and hope. Hoping to lead the refugees is deserter turned priest An Ximan (Zhang Hanyu), though he soon comes to realise the hopelessness of the situation, with starvation spreading, (Chinese) soldiers raiding for supplies, and the Japanese bombing indiscriminately. With Nationalist (Kuomintang) politicians bickering over what to do and how to profit from the situation with their American, British and Soviet allies, it is left to Time magazine correspondent, Theodore White (Adrien Brody), to reveal the true extent of the catastrophe that has befallen Henan Province by venturing into the disaster zone and exposing the full horror of the people's suffering.

Back to 1942 is a hard hitting and unrelentingly grim disaster movie playing through the eyes and experiences of its ensemble cast, switching between the three main stories of Fan, White and the Nationalist and provincial governments at a pace that cracks along, despite its 145 minutes length. Through his earlier work Feng has demonstrated a talent for tapping into public sentiment and mining melodrama on a national scale. The result has been a slew of hit films that have dealt with little known areas of Chinese history and in doing so, reveals a little more about China itself and for a Western audience that is a welcome change from the usual diet of Hollywood teen comedies, superhero movies and remakes.

Feng said recently in an interview that if it were not for censorship, Back to 1942 'would be even more cruel'. I am not sure how this could be possible without the film lapsing into parody. Feng pulls few punches and does a good job of recreating a believable sense of desperation and despair and at times, darkly satirical comedic moments are exposed which puts the viewer in an awkward position as to whether to laugh or cry (the loss of the donkey being a good example). In part this is due to the real horror of the situation, depicted in fairly graphic detail in the film, as the refugees run out of food and trudge onwards through incredibly harsh conditions, being reduced to eating bark and eventually resorting to cannibalism and selling family members for meagre bags of millet in order to survive. Feng presents much of this without fuss or fanfare and the film is all the more harrowing for the way in which it shows conditions spiralling quickly out of control against the backdrop of the government jockeying for position.

Where film can often be politicised by the Chinese authorities as criticisms of the government, Feng does a good job of appearing neutral and never assigning blame for the disaster, nor criticising the behaviour of the Chinese soldiers who frequently rob the refugees for their own survival. Even the casual and indiscriminate violence of the Japanese soldiers is portrayed as a by product of war, rather than as any grand social or historical criticism, which no doubt the Chinese government would have preferred. In doing so, the film has escaped much of the censorship that plagues Chinese directors who are often welcomed as the darlings of the international film festival circuit.

For students of Chinese history, the complete omission of the government's taxation policy is jarring since it made the food shortages far worse, nor is there any reference to Mao Zedong and the communists, ironic given that the refugees are travelling to Shaanxi Province to escape the famine which was the headquarters of Mao's fledgling Chinese Communist Party.

Despite these pedantic omissions, Back to 1942 is a gripping telling of a little known period of Chinese history that wears its heart on its sleeve without the film being too melodramatic, or trying to drown the viewer in manipulative tears. No doubt tears will be shed as a result of the horror of the situations that the refugees find themselves in but Feng tries hard to make his film politically neutral and to tell the story as it was. Feng is one of China's most talented directors and the huge budget he has to play with (by Chinese standards) really shows up on screen with some stunning visuals and action. Though grim and quite depressing, Back to 1942 is a worthy addition to the pantheon of epic disaster movies and succeeds in revealing the horrific human suffering behind a monstrous and quite possibly avoidable tragedy.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (17 total) »

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
IMDb Drama section IMDb China section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.