Director, cast take 'Step back to Glory'
By Wen Shin Kuo, The China PostA true story of the unrelenting endurance and perseverance of a group of passionate teenage girls, in a film that firmly grasps audiences and tugs at the heartstrings with an emotionally charged story of tug-of-war, “Step Back to Glory” (志氣), stands out from all of the other Cinderella-story movies in its faithful portrayal of a real-life event.
February 8, 2013, 5:13 pm TWN
The film, directed by Zhang Bo-rui (張柏瑞), tells the story of a group of young teenage girls from the Jingmei Girls High School (景美女中) tug-of-war team and their arduous journey from failure to success.
First-time director Zhang and lead actress Guo Shu-yao (郭書瑤) may seem to be two people from different backgrounds, but what they share in common is a lot of firsts. “Step Back to Glory” was Zhang's first directing experience as well as Guo's first attempt at playing a lead role. Both shared a passion for working on the movie because they were both very emotionally inspired by the spirit of determination from the Jingmei tug-of-war team's journey to glory.
All's True in Tug-of-war
In making “Step Back to Glory,” Zhang decided to cast the Jingmei tug-of-war students to play themselves rather than the usual modus operandi of the movie industry, which would be to find professional actors for such a highly anticipated movie. Zhang also insisted on staying true to the story, as he felt it was the realistic essence of the events that give the story depth, weight and value.
“This movie focuses on the sincerity and realistic aspects of the story, staying true to the story. We hardly used any special effects or computer generated images … But that doesn't mean that the movie is empty,” Zhang told The China Post.
“On the contrary, the film is very rich. If you look at the entire structure of the script, the story is very complete, with both bitter and sweet moments, real laughter and tears,” he said.
“Although the movie was adapted from an event, we stayed true to a lot of the details. We wanted to capture the real emotions, sincerity and honesty of the team's dynamics as well as the sport,” he continued.
Tug-of-war is a very honest sport. It's all about the team. There are no individual heroes. Another reason why he chose to use the tug-of-war team members themselves to act in the movie was because the story is about them, and to let these kids show us their own stories themselves would add yet another layer of reality to the film.
Taiwanese director Zhang Bo-rui poses with lead actress Guo Shu-yao to promote their movie. (Wang Chien-yu, The China Post)