Gospel-Themed Movie, "The Return of Heart", Filmed by Buddhist Director Goes Visual among Christians

By Ruth Wang, January 13, 2016 03:01 AM

The Buddhist Zhu Haochang

Recently, a movie filmed by a Buddhist director,“The Return of Heart”, goes visual in Chinese Christians. The movie tells a story about two young people in the underclass and their rough experiences that lead them to know God. 

The trailer begins with the rising melody of the hymn, The Return of Heart.(XinDeHuiGui in Chinese, a very famous hymn) It presents the story that a male migrant worker, named Zhong Jiawang and a woman,  Foot Massager from the same rural village struggle in the worldly and corrupt reality. They are despised by surrounding villagers and through their sufferings they finally come to know God and return their heart to church.

CCD interviewed the director, Zhu Haochang, who is also the leading actor in the movie. To our surprise, Zhu confesses that he is a Buddhist, interested in Christianity. He shares that his friend, the producer of the movie, invited him to attend a church in Yunnan. Upon hearing the Chinese hymn The Return of Heart, he was so moved and touched.

Combined with his own life experience that he did a lot of underclass jobs after quitting school, he wanted to convey the glamour of grassroots that even through the torture of real pressure in China, humans should hold on fast to inner innocence and goodness under any circumstance.

Below is part of the interview with Zhu Haochang concerning his perspective of faith:

CCD: You're a Buddhist while the movie adapts many Christian materials. Do you think it conflicts (with your belief)? How do you understand faith?

Zhu: I explored Buddhism, Taoism and Islam. Now I'm exploring Christianity. I think every religion may start from different points but the ultimate result lies in making a bad man into good and turning bad things into good. This includes Christianity, which is to make a man good, and to show more love, tolerance and mercy to the world. I adopted Christian materials because Christianity feels easy to be understood and I just want to make out this feeling without too much thinking. 

Actually some Christians had preached the Gospel to me when I just started to believe in Buddhism, but I didn't listen to them and had a strong aversion. However, this time my producer brought me to the church and I was touched. I hope audiences can have more interest in Christianity through the movie. I don't deny that I was 'infected' after entering into church and I hope this 'infection' can make audiences feel the same way.

What moved me the most was the producer's good relationship with his wife. It shows that the Christian family value is very good and that Christian couples are faithful. There are many other things in Christianity worthy to promote. In the future, if given the chance, I will film more Christian movies and hope that they can be more mature.

CCD: From the view of a non-Christian, what contribution do you think Christianity can bring to the Chinese society at present?

Zhu: I think it can bring unity, harmony, and prosperity. Many people believe nothing. Once men believe something, they will change their lives and overcome many things. The reason why many people have no belief is that their only value money and fame, no responsibility. Our country will become prosperous and beautiful if everyone has a belief. Christians can absolutely bring the faith. Of course, other religions can bring the strength of faith as well.

CCD: As a director you shot such a strong religious movie. What do you think of integrating religious topics into movies?

Zhu: There are rare religious movies in China and the kind of movies in the market are about fighting and killing. Actually these things don't exist in Buddhism but currently Buddhism is famous and wealthy. It is exposed that many fake monks wear cassocks to bluff and deceive people which is not real Buddhism. Many religions in the movies are not pure. Original things in religions, not like what the movies show, absorb many worldly things like fame and money.

I hope the movie I made is good and with positive energy. I feel good if this style is accepted. Religious movies should reflect beautiful and positive things in religions. The movie, integrated with Christian religion, gives me confidence to shoot similar movies with a positive energy.

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