Across China: Public welfare cinema enriches leisure time of rural residents

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-01-28 17:11
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A screenshot of the film The Taking of Tiger Mountain [Photo/Douban]

On Jan 22, the second day of the seven-day Spring Festival holiday, 65-year-old Guo Cuimei decided to celebrate the holiday by going to the cinema.

Guo went to a local public welfare cinema to watch The Taking of Tiger Mountain, an action blockbuster directed by Hark Tsui. At AM., the theatre was already full of local residents.

For Guo and her fellow residents of Xihe township in Shandong Province, watching films has been a traditional pastime since decades ago.

"When I was little, the county authority dispatched projectionists to show us films," Guo recalled. "We had to walk long distances to watch them, but we never felt tired," she said. To this day, she can still clearly recount the plot of classic Chinese films such as Heroic Sons and Daughters.

"Watching films for rural residents is not just an entertainment, but a way of socializing," said Li Fengzhu, the manager of a film company in Zibo, Shandong Province. However, outdoor film screenings depend a lot on the weather and are, therefore, usually scheduled on warmer days.

To address this problem, Xihe township in 2015 launched a project to convert an abandoned local brick factory into a public welfare cinema. It began operation late that year and is the first indoor rural public welfare cinema in the province.

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