AFTERSHOCK: A Lesson of Forgiveness

Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) is the face that speaks volumes of how countless people were permanently traumatized by the disaster. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) is the face that speaks volumes of how countless people were permanently traumatized by the disaster. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

My Delicate Rose, your face is etched in my heart.

Written by

Jude Bautista

Sometimes the face of a child is a more powerful statement than any dialogue. China in 1976 was still not that different from the 1950s. Life was simple for a great majority of the population. Fang Deng was a precocious 5-year-old girl who protected her smaller twin brother Fang Da from bullies. Having an electric fan to cool off from the heat wave was heaven sent in their cramped apartment. Their doting mom Li Yuanni (Fan Xu) was genuinely in love with their father Fang Daqiang (Guoqiang Zhang). Their apartment was so small they prefer to make love at the back of his truck so they won’t wake up the kids. They didn’t have much in terms of property, but they had each other.

All they had was each other from left: Jiajun Zhang (Fang Da), Fan Xu (Yuanni) and Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

All they had was each other from left: Jiajun Zhang (Fang Da), Fan Xu (Yuanni) and Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

from right: Ricardo Leong founder of Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, Ateneo De Manila Univ. Pres. Fr. Bien Nebres and Dr. Rosita Leong benefactor- Leong Initiative for Ateneo Internationalization. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

from right: Ricardo Leong founder of Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, Ateneo De Manila Univ. Pres. Fr. Bien Nebres and Dr. Rosita Leong benefactor- Leong Initiative for Ateneo Internationalization. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

That particular night in 1976 would change their lives forever, when a devastating earthquake hit their city of Tangshan. AFTERSHOCK is the film that chronicles the life of one family and how they were able to cope. The earthquake took a total of 240,000 lives. Fang Deng’s is the face that speaks volumes of how countless people were permanently traumatized by the disaster.

Zi-feng Zhang plays Fang Deng in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Zi-feng Zhang plays Fang Deng in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Lion dance during the opening of the Spring Film Festival. Catch many Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Lion dance during the opening of the Spring Film Festival. Catch many Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

You can watch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014. One of the films in the line up is produced and starred by Jackie Chan. His movie is entitled 1911; it highlights a pivotal moment in Chinese history when monarchial rule ended.

Guoqiang Zhang plays Daquiang in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Guoqiang Zhang plays Daquiang in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Having an electric fan was heaven from left: Jiajun Zhang (Fang Da) and Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Having an electric fan was heaven from left: Jiajun Zhang (Fang Da) and Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

A Chinese painting exhibit will be held from January 24-February 6, 2014 at the Shang’s new East Atrium. Chinese Painting and Crafts Workshops will likewise be held February 1 from 2pm to 4pm.

Fan Xu’s performance as Yuanni, the mother who lost her family was unforgettable. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Fan Xu’s performance as Yuanni, the mother who lost her family was unforgettable. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Fan Xu’s performance as Yuanni, the mother who lost her family was unforgettable. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Fan Xu’s performance as Yuanni, the mother who lost her family was unforgettable. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

In AFTERSHOCK more than the damage to life and property it’s the emotional cost and scars that changes people permanently. The film is a relevant choice since the Philippines has experienced a spate of disasters from an earthquake in Bohol, to the immense destruction of typhoon Yolanda and after that typhoon Agaton wreaked havoc in Mindanao.

Zi-feng Zhang plays Fang Deng in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Zi-feng Zhang plays Fang Deng in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Fan Xu’s performance as Yuanni, the mother who lost her family was unforgettable. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Fan Xu’s performance as Yuanni, the mother who lost her family was unforgettable. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Yuanni’s family was forever shattered. Her loss reflects the thousands of families here in the Philippines who have been separated by the disasters. The movie emphasizes the need for everyone, from the government to media and private citizens to work together and reunite all families.

Yaya (Jingchu Zhang) talks about the trauma of the earthquake. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Yaya (Jingchu Zhang) talks about the trauma of the earthquake. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

From right: Jin Chen (Dong Guilan), Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) and Daoming Chen (Wang Deqing) in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

From right: Jin Chen (Dong Guilan), Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) and Daoming Chen (Wang Deqing) in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

AFTERSHOCK has had enormous commercial and critical success having earned $75 million U.S. dollars. The figure has given it the title of the highest grossing movie in China. It has also been distributed internationally in countries like New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia.

left: Dao Ming Chen, who plays Wang Deqing earned Best Actor. Right: Jingchu Zhang plays Wang Deng. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

left: Dao Ming Chen, who plays Wang Deqing earned Best Actor. Right: Jingchu Zhang plays Wang Deng. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Asia Pacific Screen Award gave it Best Film and Dao Ming Chen, who plays the foster father Wang Deqing earned Best Actor. The Asian Film Awards honored Fan Xu who plays central character Yuanni with Best Actress, Phil Jones (Best Visual Effects) and Xiaogang Feng (Top Grossing Film Director).

Having an electric fan was heaven for from left: Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) and Jiajun Zhang (Fang Da) and AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Having an electric fan was heaven for from left: Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) and Jiajun Zhang (Fang Da) and AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

A dream sequence a decade after the earthquake. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

A dream sequence a decade after the earthquake. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

AFTERSHOCK is based on a novella written by award winning novelist Ling Zhang. In a speech she made at the Toronto International Film Festival she said, “During my research I was so touched by the surviving children of the earthquake. Lots of them were maimed and orphaned. They not only lost their loved ones but also the best part of their childhood memories.”

A dream sequence a decade after the earthquake. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

A dream sequence a decade after the earthquake. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

People bow during Mao’s funeral in AFTERSHOCK. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

People bow during Mao’s funeral in AFTERSHOCK. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

The era in 1976 and cultural norm at that time, tended to repress emotional expression of grief. “Stoicism was the only way to deal with losses. So those children were not given the chance to grieve openly. And their tears really have never been shed. Here 30 years later thousands of miles away in Toronto I just whimsically decided looking for the tears that have not been shed, the wounds that have not been properly healed and the pain that hasn’t really been talked about.”

from right: Yuanni (Fan Xu) and Fang Da (Jiajun Zhang) in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

from right: Yuanni (Fan Xu) and Fang Da (Jiajun Zhang) in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Fan Xu’s performance as Yuanni, the mother who lost her family was unforgettable. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

Fan Xu’s performance as Yuanni, the mother who lost her family was unforgettable. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

She explained the major difference between her book and the movie, “The book has a dark motif opening up wounds supposedly long healed, exposing the unpleasant supposedly unforgotten and forcing people to examine the cruelty of lives in times of disasters. The movie intends to heal to encourage people to bury their hatchets and move on with their lives. Director Feng Xiao Gang is one of the most talented filmmakers in China.  He has managed to instill in this movie an overflow of compassion and warmth that really gives hope to every heart once broken. This is a movie about hardship and sufferings imbued with courage dignity and a great kindness.”

from right: Fang Da (Chen Li)  brings his mom Yuanni (Fan Xu) to a fancy restaurant to introduce his fiancé Xiao He played by Ziwen Wang. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

from right: Fang Da (Chen Li) brings his mom Yuanni (Fan Xu) to a fancy restaurant to introduce his fiancé Xiao He played by Ziwen Wang. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

From left: Jin Chen (Dong Guilan), Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) and Daoming Chen (Wang Deqing) in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

From left: Jin Chen (Dong Guilan), Zi-feng Zhang (Fang Deng) and Daoming Chen (Wang Deqing) in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

The story spans 4 decades. You can see the transformation of China from being the Maoist, somewhat backward rural setting to a megalopolis in the new millennium.

The recent earthquake in 2008 also became a focal point in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

The recent earthquake in 2008 also became a focal point in AFTERSHOCK. Watch this and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

In spite of this backdrop, it’s the relationships and traditions that endure which resonate with audiences. Every year Yuanni talked to the ‘ghosts’ of the husband and the daughter she thought she had lost.  Decades later Fang Da the male twin wanted to move his mom to a swanky apartment but Yuanni didn’t want to in fear that her husband’s and daughter’s ghosts would not find their ‘home’.

left: Yuanni (FanXu) talks to the souls of her husband and daughter while burning paper money. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

left: Yuanni (FanXu) talks to the souls of her husband and daughter while burning paper money. Catch AFTERSHOCK and many other Chinese films for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza mall via the SPRING FILM FESTIVAL from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

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