Big military parade = Da yue bing

China, 1986

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Four hundred volunteers, many of them fresh recruits still in their teens come to a training camp for eight months of intensive drilling. The film focuses on four of the young squaddies and two of the officers, looking at the ways they bond and split apart, but also at their most intimate feelings: their sense of physical inadequacy, for instance, or their hypocrisy in presenting an exterior they know to be false. It’s surprisingly humane and moving. There are images here whose power and grace burn themselves into the mind. In Mandarin with English subtitles.

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Chen Kaige



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