Ubisoft Presents Fantasia 2008

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The Assembly

(Ji Jie Hao)
Sponsored by: Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office (Canada)

Canadian Premiere

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Director: Feng Xiaogang
Screenplay: Liu Heng, from “Guan Si” by Yang Jingyuan
Cast: Zhang Hanyu, Deng Chao, Yuan Wenkang, Tang Yan, Hu Jun
Producers: Wang Zhongjun, John Chong, Ren Zhonglun
Distributor: Huayi Brothers


“Always listen for the assembly bugle call. Fall back whenever you hear it. If you don’t hear the bugle call, even if you’re the last man standing, you will keep fighting.”

Officer Gu Zidi is no saint, and in the heat of war, ordinary men make terrible mistakes. But there’s no doubt he’s devoted to his men, the soldiers of the Ninth Company of the 139th Regiment, Third Battalion of the People's Liberation Army. They’ve been ordered to hold a mine in on the front lines of the civil war against Kuomintang forces in 1948. The fighting is furious, the toll in blood inexorable. Their only hope for survival is the call of the bugle…

From terror and tragedy to resilience and redemption, THE ASSEMBLY is a tale of two battles. The first is Ninth Company’s stand against the Nationalist forces at the mine, and there’s a good reason for the frequent comparisons THE ASSEMBLY has recieved to Spielberg’s SAVING PRIVATE RYAN—a gruelling battle of attrition, coming in succesive waves, a horrifying, heartbreaking river of violence. Following that, though, is Gu’s long, painful struggle to see the sacrifices of his brothers in arms, and in fact their very existence, recognized. It is here that lead actor Zhang Hanyu truly shines as the humbled yet wily Gu, a man whose spirit is shook but not shattered by war. It’s been noted that THE ASSEMBLY is uncritical and even admiring of the Communist military, but this is no rude propaganda device. Rather, it’s an examination the epic sorrow of war on carefully etched individuals.

—Rupert Bottenberg