Volunteers bring joy to blind moviegoers' lives

By ZHAO RUINAN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-10-08 08:50
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Blind and partially sighted moviegoers enjoy a narrated film at a cinema in Kunming. [Photo/China Daily]

Narrators help audiences better enjoy theater trips

Every Saturday, Wang Fokun travels 40 minutes to watch a movie with friends.

Wang, 64, lost his sight in his early 50s after experiencing a high degree of myopia, but in the past two years, a "talking film" club has enabled him to regain his love for the cinema.

The club is held in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, where volunteers give vivid narrations to an audience comprising blind and partially sighted cinemagoers.

"I listened to a film for the first time in summer 2019, and it was great. I could fully understand the movie despite being blind. The volunteers do a great job," said Wang, who watches films each week in the Yunfang Museum's theater in Kunming.

Dozens of people attend the Saturday screenings organized by Xin Deng Theater, a group of volunteers who introduce films to blind audiences.

The volunteers use a surprisingly simple method. A narrator describes what is happening onscreen, including facial expressions, unspoken gestures, the setting and costumes.

The volunteers relay to the audience visual clues that would otherwise be missed, such as a sudden change of scenery from falling leaves to snow to mark the passing of time.

One volunteer, who wanted to be named only as Yifan, has narrated more than 20 movies, doing so for the first time to an audience of more than 80 in November 2019.

That afternoon, Yifan was nervous as he described a scene from the movie Wo Bu Shi Wang Mao to a roomful of people as the movie projector whirred away.

Yifan said the audience members immersed themselves in the movie, laughing when something funny happened and sighing during sad scenes.

"I could sense they were enjoying the film. I was so glad that I could bring enjoyment to my audience by narrating the movie," said Yifan, who is also a standup comedian. "I felt as though I was shining a different light on their lives."

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