A Tough Impact

Good evening. I certainly had a very long day. Despite the fact that it was uneasy to deal with all the tasks that one must accomplish, I still find this exhaustion as a challenge that will help me become a better person. In other words, nothing can stop me from pursuing what I would love to. Sleepiness turns to eagerness because it’s gratifying on my part that I am able to share to other people what I got inside of me.

Tonight I’ve decided to publish an evaluative essay instead of telling my personal experiences. So if you haven’t watched the movie “Aftershock” and you wanted to know more about it, just keep on reading; though I suggest that you initially watch the movie because this article might just spoil (no, not the fun) the first-hand emotions that you could feel with such a one-of-a-kind genre. Here, I’m voicing out not just the consequential events but also the various aspects that I have discovered while watching.

Aftershock: A Tough Impact


Photo Courtesy of BBC News on an article about an earthquake in China last May 2008 (it has a resemblance on my article but not totally related)

Aftershock as a masterpiece from an eminent Chinese director, Feng Xiaogang would surely have influenced its viewers. This drama film was released on 2002 as the first “big commercial film” the IMAX film has produced outside the United States. Its versatility in terms of political discernment and historical adaptation hints the critics on how it might be analyzed. Along the storyline is a depiction of heartfelt accounts focusing on the life of one of the thousand families devastated by the aftermath.

At first, the scenarios start in a subtle manner wherein it focuses a family of four who lives as a commoner in their community. On the 27th day of July 1976, a catastrophic earthquake shook Tangshan (a place in China) wherein approximately a quarter of a million people have their lives been shuddered off. With that tragic moment, everything seems to fall apart: broken walls, broken roads, broken lives, broken families, and broken hearts. Here’s where a lifetime dilemma has started. Fang Daqiang stops his wife- Li Yuanni, from getting back to a collapsing building where their children- Fang Da and Fang Deng, are staying. Instead, he goes back by himself but he unfortunately died after being crushed by the falling debris. Later on, it is discovered that the twins got trapped by a concrete slab. Time is running and the mother has been left with no option because it was inferred that if one got saved, there’s a chance that another of her children will be crushed off. By choosing her son, new conflicts have risen.

That is how the first half of the story went out. Positive assessment can be observed towards the style used in the construction of consequential events. Since the occurrence of this phenomenon is based on true-to-life happenings of the past, Xiaogang made it a point to incorporate the emotions that will affect its viewers by letting them feel the same way. His strategy targets the sympathy of the people. He uses the family as a strong representation of how hurtful it is to lose your loved ones in a blink of an eye, especially if they are all that matter to your life.

More actions are revealed in the second half of the story. Fang Da is rescued but his left arm pays it off. Her mother felt shame about this decision of having a disabled son and desperately losing her husband and her daughter. She is so remorseful for the rest of her life. As they moved out, the brokenness still marks their character. On the other side, Fang Deng survived and is adopted by a military couple who is part of the rescue team. She is alive while her mother and her brother are mourning for her death. They are in pain and sorrow although the mother still hopes that Fang Daqiang and Fang Deng will be returning home- the main reason why she doesn’t want to move out anymore. When the twins have grown into successful adults, Fang Da who became the boss of a travel agency and Fang Deng who ended up working abroad instead of being a medicine graduate, destiny finds chance to cross out their roads. Another devastating earthquake visited their homeland. With their hearts nailed on the tragedy that once destroyed everything they’ve had, Fang Da and Fang Deng come back with the rescue team. There they found each other and reunited. Each of them already had a child with similar name, Diandian. Then they decided to meet their mother. After realizing what had just happened for 32 years of hurtful feelings brought by the traumatizing tragedy, they forgive one another.

These parts are highly- appraised brought by expressive motion of the characters. If the purpose is to mainly get the viewers involved not physically but morally, then it succeeds. Watching the intensifying images of huge concrete buildings melt as the ground cracks and the tremors keep on (physically and emotionally) shattering the people, is something that truly breezes in to senses of the present generation. The profound background of how a family had lived up with loneliness spice up the details of the film. But at the end, the reality is fast- approaching and the victims strive for survival just as how the physical order of the city was rebuilt. No matter what happens, they may all find their way back into serenity only if they open themselves in starting a new life.

As a whole, “Aftershock” is not just all about the commemoration of the calamity and its adverse effects but a junction of history and politics. With the use of timeline to identify the transitions that are happening, it is well- identified by the audience that what they are watching occurred real in the past. Thus, the emphasis of historical settlement processes in their minds. The next things are more concealed perspective: well- grounded accreditations for the support of the military group who helped the victims and a hidden meaning of criticizing the government for its delinquency in providing the preparation and protection of the people.

Evidently, the military couple who adopted Fang Deng shows signs of being concerned, supporting, and responsible all throughout the story.  It is one of the symbolisms used to convey how the military as a group is being defined with the integral service that it may offer. It exemplifies the quality of consolation wherein the general public must give the respect that the army deserves in return. Amidst the recognition, the story wants to testify that there would have been something more that the government in China could have done in order to prevent or lessen the casualties. What it tries to say is the blame that is being acted upon the carelessness and ignorance because only if disaster-preparedness is being practiced, then the people could have a higher chance of survival. Also, precautions must have been implied to protect the people although an earthquake will not always be predictable.

The artists of the film resume on evading the higher authorities. It might not be done by verbally speaking out or directly putting the blame in its governance. Other than this, the rest of the assessing values are well- established and considered such an optimal growth to cinematography. It encompasses a wide array of excellent performing actors and actresses which contributed to a more effective message delivery. The visual effect and sound system add up to the exceptional motion picture.

Taking in the significance of the film productions, it could furthermore be evaluated as an important factor which attends to societal issues and cultural reforms that we have nowadays. It is designed to reveal the unknown matters, boost the morale of each character, and make use of the plot as a narration to the reminiscent historical event. This aspect of the film also aspires to raise the nationalism through camaraderie and live up the faith they used to believe in.

Aftershock technically means another tragedy but in this movie, it defines the holistic value of strength and unity. Rise up against the odds instead of letting an ego be ruined by another tremor.

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