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

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Back to 1942 -- A deadly drought in 1942 takes its toll on central China's Henan province during the war against Japan.


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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. | Add synopsis »
24 wins & 10 nominations See more »
Back To 1942: Review
 (From 24FramesPerSecond. 29 November 2012, 1:24 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
A Nutshell Review: Back to 1942 See more (15 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
Li Qian ... Master Fan's Daughter-in-Law
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
Chenguang Zhang ... Chang / Tao-fan
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
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
Nga-Bok Lei .... 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
Hai Cheng Zhao .... co-executive producer
Hongmei Zhao .... co-executive producer
Original Music by
Jiping Zhao 
Cinematography by
Yue Lü 
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
Visual Effects by
Cui Chen .... compositor: NAGA FX
Camera and Electrical Department
Remi Epron .... aerial pilot & technician
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?
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30 out of 35 people found the following review useful.
A Nutshell Review: Back to 1942, 7 December 2012
Author: DICK STEEL from Singapore

With big budgeted films like Assembly and Aftershock under his belt, Feng Xiaogang is no stranger to ambitious films set against the Chinese historical backdrop, which he handles most excellently through powerful, emotional dramas, balancing it out with what would be money shots of the large event that forms the canvas of his movies. With Aftershock he dealt with the Tangshan earthquake of 1976, Assembly had his war between the Communist and Nationalist soldiers, and now he goes a little further back in time to 1942, where China's Henan province suffers through its deadliest drought resulting in the death of 3 million through starvation.

I guess it's quite challenging for many here to have experienced true hunger in today's relatively affluent society, but those who have been through some days without having to eat something, usually through vanity reasons of keeping artificially slim, will attest to an uncomfortable feeling. Multiply that by months on end, with a war looming and then experienced, and one can almost picture how miserable life then would have been, with food being literally scraped from what would be unthinkable as food, such as tree barks, and many willing to offer anything, most often children, as barter trade for foodstuff.

Based on the novel by Liu Zhenyun titled Remembering 1942, it charts the huge drought and famine through one of China's provinces, told through the eyes of various protagonists in this sprawling epic. There's a well to do landlord in Master Fan (Zhang Guoli) who opens the movie, as we bear witness to his slow and inevitable descend from prince to pauper, having a stockpile that got naturally targeted by bandits, and when all hell broke loose, he suffers tragedy after tragedy, joining the millions of others on their trek westwards to find food, and also incidentally escape from invading Japanese forces.

Then there's the religious arc, with Priest Sim (Zhang Hanyu), a Chinese man seeing opportunity in all these distraught to spread the word of Christ amongst his fellow countrymen, with his faith being shaken by constant questions how his God would have allowed this to continue, where at one point he had envisioned this situation to be similar to Moses' leading of the exodus out of Egypt. Tim Robbins and Adrien Brody also took up roles in this film, much like Christian Bale in Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War, with the former being the priest whom Sim confides in, and the latter playing the role of a Time magazine correspondent who also lends his perspective to the growing atrocities, and ignorance of the many politicians who prefer to enjoy the company of elites, and turning a blind eye to the true situation thousands of miles away.

While the film does not offer pointed accusations, it does present a series of events that may have contributed to the immense human tragedy, and this largely involves politicians, soldiers and the Japanese, where WWII almost becomes an excuse for the existence of millions of refugees uprooting themselves and moving elsewhere not only to escape from enemies, but to look for sustenance. Director Feng engages some of the best in the craft for this ironically lush production (for a film that deals with those with absolute nothingness), to bring out vivid looking shots and conditions in which the actors thrived in delivering heartfelt performances, with no holds barred effort poured into the production to make every shot look believable, plausible, succeeding in its attempt to put you right where the action unfolds.

War and battle scenes also looked notches above what the director had done with Assembly. Blood and gore moments were kept realistic without the need to be gratuitous, from major scuffles amongst bandits and villagers, to constant Japanese air raids which saw bombs raining down indiscriminately against both soldiers and the long lines of civilians trying their best to escape from hunger, now having to deal with another threat which some see as a lifeline to end their miserable lives. But if looking from yet another angle outside from the premise of the film, the narrative also deals with the adage of fortunes being cyclic in nature, telling such a story where a rich man's most prized possession will be that final slap in the face when Maslow's basic theory of needs come into play, like a warning to the newly affluent that when it boils down to survival, it's every man for himself, with the elite class likely to suffer the most when the people trodden upon calls it quits.

Chinese films have come a long way over the last decade, and Feng Xiaogang has shown that he's amongst one of the best out there to deliver big budgeted productions that doesn't have to void of a soul or emotional core. It's an epic on the grandest scale, succeeding because it tells stories of the human condition that everyone can identify with. Highly recommended, as I ponder what other historical backdrop the director would be tackling next, since he has a keen eye and a knack for it!

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