Tuning in to war

By Xu Fan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-09-03 07:36:31

Tuning in to war

War-themed series dominate TV screens in China as the country marks the 70th anniversary of China's victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45). [Photo provided to China Daily]

With a boost from China's top regulator of television, popular hit series this week revolve around inspiring wartime heroes fighting Japanese invaders, shows which are resonating with a younger and broader viewership. The country's broadcasters are airing scores of revolutionary hits and quality documentaries on the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

The dramas include The Yellow River Is Roaring, On the Mountain of Taihang, Left-Hand Cleaver, Graduation Song and Landmine Warfare.

Among the highlighted documentaries are Great Contributions, Flying Tigers: The Unforgotten Memory, and Main Battlefield in the East.

Meanwhile, three animated series financed by the government have made a splash among children, thanks to innovative narratives and colorful footage.

The Letter With Feathers, inspired from a 1954 namesake movie, follows a young boy delivering a significant letter to a force of the Eighth Route Army.

To connect more closely with today's viewers, the cartoon storyline rewrites the prologue: A present-day child participates in a reality show in a village in Hebei province - where coincidently the letter event occurred around 70 years ago. History meets the reality as the story evolves.

"The programs on anti-Japanese themes are usually serious. Some popular elements will draw quicker attention and be easier to accept," says Wang Xiaorui, script writer of The Letter With Feathers.

Tunnel Warfare, adapted from the 1965 film with the same title, recreates the protagonist as a teenager hero, who witnesses the adult villagers' guerrilla battles through tunnels to fight against Japanese.

In contrast to the two shows adapted from classics, Wuzi Pao: Yuanziya Baowei Zhan (Wuzi Cannon: A Defense Battle in Yuanzi Cliff) is inspired by a legendary battle in Shandong province, which has never been adapted to movies or TV before.

"The youngsters need to know what happened during the war. Artistic forms, such as cartoon series, can help them access the history, but avoid the strong shocks from real atrocities, which may create negative impact," says Jiang Daqiao, script writer of Wuzi Cannon.

Jiang adds they try to break up the stereotype roles with perfect personalities.

"Lin Yi (the protagonist) is not born as a hero. He makes errors and grows up by correcting them," he says.

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