Nov. 12 - The actor attended the Rome Film Festival premiere for his new film ''Back to 1942.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
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STORY: After opening with Taijikistan-born director Bakhtiar Khudojnazarov's "Waiting for the Sea", which took over six years to make, the Rome Film Festival on Sunday (November 11) premiered another arduous labour of love; Chinese director Feng Xiaogang's "Back to 1942".
Feng, who back home in China is a much loved film-maker behind huge commercial hits such as "Cell Phone", "A World Without Thieves" and "If You Are the One" rushed to complete the movie in time for the festival, where it had been simply announced as "Surprise Film Asia 1" and was only named a week ago on Monday (November 5).
The movie, based on the best-selling novel "Remembering 1942" by writer Liu Zhenyun, centres on a famine that hit China's central Henan province in the tumultuous years of internal fighting and Japanese occupation.
"Back to 1942" follows a group of villagers who are forced to take to the road along with millions of other refugees as they run out of food.
Corruption among government officials, Japanese air raids and harsh weather conditions make matters worse for the famished locals.
The film also stars American actors Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins as a journalist from Time Magazine and an Italian priest, respectively, who get caught up in the tragic events.
As the war with Japan breaks out and the province's grain supplies are diverted to the troops, the homeless and hungry locals are left to fend for themselves.
Brody, who in the film delivers some lines in Mandarin, joined Feng and the Chinese cast members on the movie's red carpet premiere at Rome's Auditorium Parco della Musica on Sunday evening.
"It's very dramatic material and it's socially relevant material and that's also what I'm drawn to," he told Reuters Television.
"But you know, while the Western world was suffering World War II so was China and the people of China and many people were left to starve to death and there were many refugees that were not cared for and it's interesting. It's important to expose this kind of universal suffering that we all have and that unites us all and maybe we can learn from history," he added.
Also making an appearance on the red carpet were Feng's lead actors Zhang Guoli and Xu Fan who play Landlord Fan and his tenant Hua Zhi, a part of the group of displaced people fighting for their survival.
"Back to 1942" which was shot on a budget of some 35 million U.S. dollars will be released in some 8,000 cinemas across China on November 29.
The Rome Film Festival runs through November 17.