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NEW STORY OF AN OLD SOLDIER

China, 1959 (MIFF 1963)

Director: Shen Fu

Peitahuang (The Great Northern Waste) is an area in North-East China. Formerly it was a snowy wilderness haunted by wild animals and birds. Its few inhabitants used lo say of it: "Wild and desolate is the Great Northern Waste; wolves and foxes, deer and rabbits abound there, but never a girl can be found".

In 1948 Lao Chan, a demobilised soldier, was one of many veterans who was sent to the area to reclaim the neglected land. The story of his adventures there was written by Li Chun, one of the most promising of China's young writers. After seeing a detailed documentary film of the reclaimation project, Li spent some months in the area before submitting his script to the Haiyen Studio in Shanghai. The result is a spectacular impression of one of the major works of the new China, told essentially in human terms.

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