Chinese director's film evokes civil war's cost

Berlin-winning director highlights how war divided families

HONG KONG -- Berlin film festival winner Wang Quanan says shooting his new movie, "Apart Together," made him appreciate the personal cost of China's civil war.

The Chinese director's film had its Asian premiere Tuesday at the Hong Kong International Film Festival. It is inspired by a true story that reflects how families on opposite sides of the political divide were separated for decades after China split in 1949 when Mao Zedong's communists forced the then-ruling Nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-shek, to retreat to the island of Taiwan.

"Apart Together" tells how a Nationalist soldier visits the wife he left behind in the mainland who has since remarried. Reunited with the love of his life, the retired soldier wants to bring her back to Taiwan, but his plans spark a major backlash in his wife's new family.

"The strongest feeling I came away with after making this movie is that the pain actual families had to bear because of divisions within a race, a country, are much greater than we think they are," the 45-year-old director said on the sidelines of the Hong Kong festival.

"Even if people are reunited, the emotional distance between them created by time takes a long time to overcome," he said.

"Apart Together" won a Silver Bear for best script at the Berlin International Film Festival's in February. Wang's previous film, "Tuya's Marriage," won the festival's top Golden Bear prize in 2007.

The Chinese director said his next project will be a 100 million yuan ($14.6 million) adaptation of Chen Zhongshi's 1993 epic novel, "Bailuyuan," which follows the disputes between rival families in a Chinese village through three generations.
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