Father, son and their mobile cinema

By Qiu Haiying and Li Jingrong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 5, 2019
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Townspeople watch a film presented by Xu Qiang's mobile cinema in a downtown square in Huaying, Sichuan Province on June 26, 2019. [Photo by Qiu Haiying/China.org.cn]

A father-and-son traveling film projectionist team has become a fine story on everybody's lips in a mountainous region of Sichuan province in the past decades.

Xu Zuxiang, 77, started working as a film projectionist in the Huaying Town Cinema in 1962, when there was hardly any entertainment locally. Under an enterprise reform program in 1995, Xu was laid off and became a self-employed projectionist.

He bought a set of second-hand projection equipment at his own expense. He travelled from village to village, carrying the 50-kg projector and power generator on a shoulder pole to screen films for the local people.

Luckily, his son Xu Qiang, 51, is also a movie lover. In 1997, Xu Qiang decided to quit his job and also become a projectionist to help his father as he got aged and frail. For years Xu Qiang has been his father's right-hand man.

There are more than 100 villages under the administration of Huaying Town. With the number of movie watchers tending to increase quickly, the father and son decided in 2007 to hire four projectionists to join their team, establishing the "Ba Ba Cinema" with Xu Qiang as the head.

With the popularity of digital cinemas, Xu's team is equipped with digital projectors to keep up with the times. "Although a digital machine is much lighter and easier to carry than a traditional film equipment, we still can't give up the latter," he said.

According to him, older people tend to be nostalgic for the past and prefer film movies, which they believe give them "a better sense" on the scene.

Times have changed, yet the father and son are still delivering cinematic entertainment in the old-fashioned way, carrying on a longstanding rural tradition with their mobile cinema. In the past 20 years, Xu's film projection team has delivered 15,310 projections for local consumption.

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