Shanghai, 1937. Cornered by the relentless advance of the Japanese, the Chinese army despatches a small military unit to defend an arms depot. 800 men in all. 800 men who immediately bring to mind Thermopylae and Leonidas' 300 Spartans, committed to repelling the devastating attack of Xerxes's Persian forces. And just like the Spartans, these 800 men defending the banks of Suzhou Creek, the river that runs through the city centre, will oppose the enemy siege to their last breaths...
A mega-production as spectacular as it is patriotic, and perhaps the most important title released in China in 2020, Guan Hu's blockbuster The Eight Hundred will explode into the line-up of the Far East Film Festival 23 in Udine and from 25 June will be distributed in Italia by Notorious Pictures simultaneously with its European premiere at the FEFF. A precious and tangible sign of how, after the incredible success of Parasite, great Asian films are continuing to break through into our country's cinema system (we need only think of the recent success of Minari and the wonderful return of In the Mood for Love, acclaimed by the public twenty years after its first release).
Adapting a historical episode which is little-known in the West, The Eight Hundred addresses universal themes such as brotherhood and sacrifice in a powerful blockbuster war movie where individual bravery becomes collective courage and where the darkness of war plays counterpoint to the realities of everyday existence: while the battle rages on, we see that "across" the river, life flows quietly on, as if death were only a movie. And this painful paradox is only part of what makes The Eight Hundred a compelling, moving film full of possible contrary readings.
Here’s the Italian trailer >