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North Korea and China partner in lavish war epic
By Staff Reporter
Thu, 30 September 2010, 14:14 PM (HKT)
Zhànhuŏ zhōng de xiàngliàn (戰火中的項鏈), a large-scale coproduction between China and North Korea is set to start shooting this December, only the second feature film between the two neighbouring countries.
Set both sides of the border, the drama centres on a retired North Korean soldier who recalls his time fighting alongside the Chinese during the Korean War 60 years ago. The Korean title translates as If There Is No Love; the working Chinese title translates as Necklace in the Fire of War.
Following three months of shooting in northeast China this winter, production will move to North Korea in late March, with locations in both Pyongyang and elsewhere.
The RMB20 million (US$3 million) budget is entirely provided by China's August First Studio (八一電影制片廠), owned by the People's Liberation Army, with the North Koreans providing facilities during the shoot their side of the border. All lead technicians will be Chinese, with support staff coming from North Korea. Post-production will be handled in China, with the movie expected to be released in summer 2011.
Director is 69-year-old August First staffer Zhai Junjie (翟俊杰), a specialist in lavishly mounted war movies (My Long March 我的長征, The Decisive Engagement 大決戰), as well as political dramas (The Republic Will Never Forget 共和國不會忘記).
Despite occasional hiccups in the relationship, China has remained North Korea's closest ally and largest trade partner, and relations between the two have noticeably warmed in recent years. The Arirang Mass Games, held in Pyongyang every autumn, now include a special section devoted to friendship between the two countries.
The first China-North Korea coproduction was Oriental Gladiator (東方角鬥士, 2005), co-directed by Li Qimin (李啓民) and Ri Ju Ho (리주호), a biopic about ethnically Korean Japanese wrestling legend Rikidozan (力道山).