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Filming In Penang
The Sun Yat-sen Penang Base was used as a location in the international Chinese movie Road To Dawn. The scene dramatized the ‘Penang Conference’ where Dr. Sun gave a moving speech to mobilize support for the revolution.
Road To Dawn (from Wikipedia)
Road to Dawn (Chinese: 夜。明; pinyin: Yè míng; lit. “night, dawn”) is a 2007 Chinese historical film directed by Hong Kong filmmaker, Derek Chiu. The film depicts an obscure episode in Sun Yat-sen’s revolutionary life, when he sought refuge in Penang from July to December 1910. He relocated the Southeast Asian headquarters of his political party, the Tongmenghui, to Penang and convened the Penang Conference to stage the Second Guangzhou Uprising. The film is also called Before The Sunrise.
The film premiere at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 27 June 2007 was attended by both Chinese and Malaysian government leaders and media. The film was classified an ‘Important Historical Topic Movie’ by the PRC’s State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) — the first such filmed 100% outside of China and based on a historical event that took place outside of China. A charity premier was held in Penang on 17 September 2007 in aid of the new Wawasan Open University (WOU) Chancellor’s scholarship fund.
“Road To Dawn” in Japanese title 「孫文-100年先を見た男-」has recently gained attention in Japan, where starting from 5 September 2008 it screened for about seven months. In Tokyo alone, it screened for almost two months.
Road to Dawn was billed as a Shenzen Media Group, Shenzen Film Studio, Pearl River Film Company presentation of a Shenzen Assn. for Intl. Cultural Exchanges, Shenzen Media Group production.
Road To Dawn main investor company is Malaysian’s Ribuan Hijau Sdn. Bhd., which owned 4 Malaysian Chinese press companies.
Road To Dawn was the first China-produced movie filmed entirely in Malaysia. It was filmed entirely on location in Penang in August and September 2006. Other international movies have used Penang a substitute location — Indochine (1992),Paradise Road (1997), Anna and The King (1999), The Touch (2002), and Lust, Caution (2007). However, Road To Dawn is the first international movie set in Penang.
Road To Dawn fully exploits the multicultural setting of Penang, showing cultural diversity in ethnic communities, costumes, houses of worship and architectural heritage. Angelica Lee plays a young woman from the Straits Chinese (also called Baba Nyonya or peranakan) minority community.
In Road To Dawn, Winston Chao plays Sun Yat-sen for the second time – which revolves around a young Sun Yat-sen in Penang. The first was in the 1997 movie, The Soong Sisters in which he played the older Sun Yat-sen from the time of the Xinhai Revolution up to his death.
History and dramatic license
Sun Yat-sen lived in Penang between July and December 1910. He was joined by his first wife, his second wife, his two daughters and his brother Sun Mei. For the sake of a romantic storyline, the movie only shows Sun and his second wife Chen Cuifen.
The fictional character of Xu Dang Rong is loosely based on the real life character of Chen Bijun, a young woman revolutionary who became the wife of Wang Jingwei, a close associate of Sun Yat-sen.
The fictional character of Luo Zhaoling is loosely based on Luo Zhonghuo, a Penang-trained teacher and poet (though he was never a Qing agent), who became one of the 72 martyrs of the Second Guangzhou Uprising.
Awards & Reviews
Awards & nominations
10th Shanghai International Film Festival Media Awards
Most Popular Actor Awards Winston Chao
Most Promising New Comer Awards (Wu Yue)
12th Huabiao Awards
Most Outstanding Newcomer for Scriptwriting (Maezi)
2007 Chinese American Film Festival
Golden Angel Award
2007 Guangzhou University Students Film Festival
Best Actor Award Winston Chao
2009 China Centre Publicity Board Awards for “5 in 1 Project Outstanding Civilized Movie” category “”五个一工程“精神文明奖优秀电影” Excellent Quality Movie
The film was nominated for Huabiao Awards Most Outstanding Movie and Best Actress (Wu Yue), China Golden Rooster Best Music (Pan Guoxing, Su Junjie), Golden Horse Best Image Design (Doris Song). The movie was screened at the 2007 Hawaii International Film Festival, 2008 Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival, 2008 Cannes Film Festival. It is also the closing ceremony movie for Singapore International Film Festival.
Road To Dawn depicts romance and the Chinese revolutionary movement in early 20th century Penang. The movie portrays Dr. Sun as a political refugee in desperate circumstances, as a committed doctor who cares for the society he lives in, as a leader of men and as a loving husband to his second wife, Chen Cuifen. Based on the true story of Dr. Sun Yat-sen as a revolutionary in Penang, Malaysia in the year 1910, the storyline refers to historical events while incorporating fictional elements and characters. Here are some movie reviews:
By Richard Kuipers, posted Nov. 7, 2007:
Before the Sunrise “Centering on a period skipped over by most texts and films about Chinese nation-making hero Sun Yat-sen, “Before the Sunrise” (aka “Road to Dawn”) turns the spotlight on the medico-turned-revolutionary’s relationship with longtime assistant and “second wife” Chen Cuifen. Set during Sun’s 1910 exile in Penang, Malaysia, well-appointed mix of romance and politics is a respectful and respectable effort that has a rough shot at specialist export outside Asia.”
By Sharon Wong, posted Aug. 14, 2007:
Penang dawns in Sun’s biopic ”Road To Dawn brings the life of Dr Sun Yat-sen to the big screen.”
By Kozo, LoveHKfilm.com:
LoveHKilm.com review of DVD “Smaller story about the Father of China, Sun Yat-Sen. While not as grand or self-important as its patriotic film cousins, Road to Dawn may be more watchable thanks to its focus on Sun the man and not the icon.”
Souvenir Album – buy it at the Sun Yat-sen Museum
Road To Dawn: Filming in Penang by Goh Mai Loon & Khoo Salma Nasution is a souvenir album in English/Chinese on the making of ‘Road To Dawn’, on location in Penang. Providing a brief historical background on each of the movie locations, the book is richly illustrated, with most of the photographs professionally taken by the official movie photographer Di Jin Sheng.
The historic ambiance of early 20th century Penang is recreated. Penang was a colonial society, a prosperous port which attracted people from all nations and walks of life, and a meeting place of East and West. With beautiful locations and costumes, the movie highlights Penang’s multi-cultural society, rich architectural heritage, and the Baba Nyonya or Peranakan community.