Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins Despair in Trailer for Feng Xiaogang's BACK TO 1942
Feng's new film, Back To 1942 - depicting the horrific drought and famine that swept Henan Province during the Sino-Japanese War - features turns from two Academy Award winners: Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins. From what we see in the new trailer, Brody plays journalist Theodore H. White, whose eyewitness accounts of what was happening to the Chinese people while the government was too preoccupied with the war appeared in Time Magazine. Meanwhile, Robbins plays a Catholic priest who tries to help the victims of the disaster. The film also stars Feng's wife Xu Fan and Zhang Hanyu and is based on the novel Remembering 1942 by Liu Zhenyun.
Feng and the film's backers Huayi Brothers will be hoping not only to equal the performance of Zhang's film in China, but also to far exceed its disappointing reception overseas. It was hoped that the combination of foreign stars and high production values would be more appealing both to Western audiences and Academy voters, but it proved not to be the case. This new English-heavy trailer shows a concerted effort from the film's marketers to attract foreign interest in the film. But, even with big name stars, is there a mainstream audience for this kind of historical drama outside China?