Beijing will provide free movies to its residents in the next two months, in a campaign to bring the cinema to the public.
More than ten movies, including Zhang Yimou's blockbuster Hero, will be projected on open air screens in urban and rural neighborhoods.
"Movies are a popular art form, and can only flourish when they are rooted in the masses," said Kang Jianmin, deputy director of the China Film Association.
Kang said for various reasons, movies had become a luxury for common people because of the expensive ticket prices.
The China Film Association has reached an agreement with film producers that all movies are provided to the organizers free of charge. "We persuaded the producers that the screenings were for the public interest and they agreed," Kang said.
The first screening was scheduled Thursday night at the Sijiqing Town in the outskirt of Beijing, about an hour's drive from downtown.
Statistics from the Beijing Statistics Department show the average annual income of working Beijing residents was 32,808 yuan(US$4,101). The average film ticket is 50 yuan (US$6.25 ), a luxury for most low-income people.
(Xinhua News Agency September 29, 2006)