Film Festival Tour of Dying to Survive

Dying to Survive, directed by Wen Muye, supervised by Ning Hao and starring Xu Zheng, won the best screenplay award in the main competition of the 42nd Montreal International Film Festival in Canada on September 3. As an internationally renowned A film festival, the Montreal International Film Festival has always maintained the characteristics of new, fashion and technologies, and has witnessed the birth and growth of many Chinese excellent filmmakers. Dying to Survive as a breakthrough in Chinese film, it incorporates the thinking of humanity in the subject innovation. This shortlist is a full international recognition of the film’s efforts to expand the “width” and “thickness” of local films.


The film was released in China on July 8, 2018, and it won 3 billion box offices in 22 days and received rave reviews. Its success is not accidental, but it is difficult to copy. Its script creation takes three years, focusing on the most realistic and sharp contradiction in Chinese society. The comedy-drama is loosely based on the real-life experiences of leukemia patient Lu Yong. Gleevec, the Swiss-made drug that he needed was incredibly expensive so he illegally imported a generic version from India. He was eventually arrested for selling the drug to other leukemia patients, but they rallied to his support and he was eventually released. Dying to Survive has been compared to the U.S. film Dallas Buyers Club, though the Chinese patients need drugs to treat cancer, not AIDS.


In addition to making a splash at the International Class A Film Festival, Dying to Survive was also shortlisted in the 14th Changchun Film Festival in China, and finally won the best feature film award, best screenplay award, best actor award and best-supporting actor award on Sept 9.

Being able to achieve both domestic and international recognition at the same time, Dying to Survive is undoubtedly the biggest winner of Chinese films in 2018. However, while enjoying the small achievements of Chinese films, we must think about what makes this realistic film so popular and how to go forward in the internationalization of Chinese films.


First of all, having national characteristics and localization is the most important point to win the attention of domestic and international film festivals. It is most profound and meaningful to tell our own story. No matter where the audience comes from, they will want to watch a film that can move them. Therefore, for the director, it is undoubtedly easier to tell and shoot the film content based on the most familiar background and the most familiar society, which is also conducive to attracting the audience to understand the local culture. Secondly, films need to be innovative and have something completely different from all previous films. For example, it can be different shooting techniques, different narrative techniques, or different visual effects. In short, it must be unique to be remembered. As Ning Hao said, “the creator should have his own understanding and free expression space for the film, which is interesting and innovative. It is also important to look at the times that are relevant to everyone and take root in the soil of reality.”Film is the chronicler of the times. A good film should be innovative and local, while a good director needs to express the stories which he or she has experienced and the times he or she has left behind.

Runjia Liu 28664744

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