Plot: In 1948, during the Chinese Civil War, the Captain Gu Zidi from the Liberation Army falls in disgrace with his superiors after an incident with prisoners of war. He is assigned with his forty-seven soldiers from the Nineth Company to defend a coal mine until they hear the retreat assembly of the bugle. Gu Zidi never hears the call, his men die and he gathers their bodies inside the mine. Gu Zidi awakes in a hospital and neither his identity and nor his officer ranking are recognized; the forty-seven soldiers that heroically died are only considered missing and their action is completely unknown by the high-command. Gu Zidi fights in the Korea War and spends the rest of his life feeling guilty for the death of his men and trying to prove and achieve recognition for the honorable deed of his forty-seven soldiers.
Budget: US$11 million.
Based on short story The Lawsuit, which was inspired by a true event.
Assembly has been called the first Chinese-made modern war epic which does not serve any purpose for propaganda. It was premiered at the recently closed Pusan International Film Festival and got very positive reviews.
Media news reported Assembly was a roaring success at the box office, the film have snatched the box office title with total earnings of more than 235 million Yuan, or nearly 32 million US dollars.
«Worthy and involving, The Assembly slightly disappoints because it's safe and unchallenging in its portrait of the Chinese army. Still, director Feng Xiaogang gets points for making this a human rather than a patriotic film, and the battle sequences are quite impressive for Chinese cinema. A solid achievement.»
«Those looking for critical commentary regarding the Chinese Civil War or the nature of war itself will not find what they want in Assembly. Every nation has its war stories, and the way these stories are told are as varied as the nations from which they originate. Thus, to criticize Assembly for not addressing specific political issues is to hold the film to a standard to which few films are held. »
«Assembly is an ambitious film. It combines drama and action, and in both aspects, doesn't hold back in bringing about the best it probably could. And after watching this, you'll probably won't hesitate to watch another war movie coming out of China, if they meet the benchmark set by Feng Xiaogang. Recommended!»
«Captured on lens with intentional grey cinematography and shot with a constantly shaky camera, the scenes are top-rate and are comparable to Hollywood productions. What’s more, they arrest our attention with its discomforting look at war, and tops it all off with an affecting story of one man who stuck to his beliefs amidst the chaos.»
«Director Feng balances the visceral, realistic treatment of the battles, which are harrowing as you’d expect, with Gu’s boyish, stubborn humour in the face of despair. The peppering of the script with comedy is a welcome relief from the scenes of violence, and helps Feng avoid a lapse into melodrama.»
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