Tears flow freely at preview of Tangshan earthquake movie

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 July, 2010, 12:00am

When publicists hand out packs of tissues before a film preview in Wan Chai, the audience braces for a weepie. And sure enough the tears began flowing during Saturday night's showing of Aftershock, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre's theatre hall. Directed by Feng Xiaogang and due for release in Hong Kong on July 22, Aftershock is an often heart-rending story of loss and reunion after the Tangshan earthquake that killed more than 240,000 people in 1976. Feng and his actress wife Xu Fan mingled with red-eyed movie fans in the foyer while mainland actress Zhang Jingchu explained how Aftershock had brought her closer to her mum.

'I've played plenty of tragic characters, but none of them influenced me as much as this one,' she said. In Aftershock she plays a woman left for dead in the earthquake's rubble and who returns to her family 32 years later.

'I understand what it's like to lose a loved one,' said Zhang, whose father died two years ago. 'I now live with my mum. She's been through the menopause and has become sensitive and nagging. But still I cherish every minute with her.'