Although some people have complained that "Aftershock" is no more than a family melodrama that could have taken place in the context of any major disaster, the film has special meaning for a country that experienced the deadliest earthquake of the 20th century. Aftershock was shot in Tangshan, which contributed funding.
For one scene that features a paper-burning ceremony for those who lost their lives, Feng recruited actual survivors as extras. There was no need for them to fabricate emotion because they were mourning their loved ones.
Xinhua reported that about 10,000 locals watched the "Aftershock" premier at Tangshan Stadium with tears brimming in their eyes.
"I am still young and therefore have no idea what it must have been like to experience something so tragic, but I can imagine that this film was really cathartic for those survivors in the audience," a student said upon exiting the theater.
"In addition, 'Aftershock' lends a profound understanding to future generations."
Despite praise from the mainstream media, however, Feng has faced a tirade of complaints regarding overt product placement in a tragedy (the film features certain brands of alcohol, insurance, cell phones, cars and sportswear).
He dismissed them with the simple explanation that the commercial aspect of Chinese film is inevitable, as domestic films can only profit through limited channels.
Ultimately, "Aftershock" is a film that embodies perennial themes the Chinese revere: family, loyalty and love.
Aftershock preaches a humanitarian spirit through a tale of compassion and forgiveness, encouraging those who are traumatized to move on with their lives.