In accordance with President Xi Jinping’s instructions to create literary and artistic works that “inspire patriotism,” China is preparing to unveil The 38th Parallel, its first televised take on the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.
The show stars Zhang Guoqiang, Wang Ting, Cao Xiwen and Wang Pei, an is dedicated to the men and women who died in China’s volunteer army.
Positive Spin on the Korean War
Only a few years after its founding, the People’s Republic of China was called upon to deploy the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army to defend the homeland with extraordinary courage and wisdom. As the first Chinese show to portray the Korean War, The 38th Parallel is heavily focused on capturing historical reality.
“It took about three or four years to write the script. Every time I got to a moving scene, I couldn’t help bursting into tears,” said screenwriter Wang Haiping.
During pre-production, the creators studied numerous files and documents and visited countless survivors to learn how to capture the emotional climate of the era.
From Small Potatoes to Heroes
The story begins in a fishing village on the Yalu River, where Li Changshun (played by Zhuang Guoqiang) and his friend Zhang Jinwang (played by Wang Ting) join the volunteer army. After surviving battle, Li becomes a national hero and makes critical contributions to the cause of victory.
Cao Xiwen, an actress better known by her moniker “Wild Duck,” plays a resolute woman who joins the battle for love and forms a romantic bond with Zhang Guoqiang that crosses the boundary of life and death.
The emotional connections between the characters tie them together and drive the plot. Cast against the background of cruel war, The 38th Parallel salutes the loyalty and courage of the volunteer army who sacrificed their youth and lives to ensure a peaceful and happy future for their country.
To capture the historical scene, The 38th Parallel invested more than 100 million yuan in costumes and locations – an uncommonly high budget for Asian television.
The actual filming was directed by Mengji and action director Pu Zhutian, who was involved in the creation of the similarly themed Assembly and 1942.
Producer Wang Pei promised the show would deliver grand and shocking scenes of war and vivid battlefield detail. “The production of The 38th Parallel is full of sincerity. It’s hard to image how hard we tried, but we still strove for perfection,” he said.
The 38th Parallel was co-produced by Beijing Media Corporation, Beijing Jiaren Culture Media, AHA Pictures (Beijing), Beijing CCTV Splendid Film and TV and Haining Jingmei Film.