China has selected the volleyball drama Leap directed by Peter Ho-Sun Chen as the official entry in Best International Feature Film category at 93rd Academy Awards.
The film, starring Gong Li, Huang Bo, Wu Gang, Peng Yuchang, Bai Lang, and China’s Women’s Volleyball Team, recounts the ups and downs of the Women’s National Volleyball Team of China over the past four decades.
With glorious days from five consecutive championships in the 1980s, the Women’s National Volleyball Team of China had transcended the conventional definition of sports in the hearts of Chinese people. When the Chinese team was pitted against the US team led by Lang Ping at the 2008 Beijing Volleyball Game, everyone knew that it was a match that China could not lose, and certainly could not afford to lose. Defeated, the Chinese team plunged into the deepest abyss in three decades. As Lang Ping returned to her country to coach the team, many mused aloud as to whether China’s Women’s National Volleyball Team would be able to retrieve lost grounds.
The film recounts the ups and downs, the sweat and sacrifice of the team over the past four decades. While the team’s persistence and teamwork became a national inspiration and collective memory in the 80s, whether the team spirit can be passed down to the new generation as China goes through rapid changes.