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Film-making in 1958

Year:1958 Issue:1

Column: CINEMA


Release Date:1958-03-04

Page: 20

Full Text:  

China's film workers, at a conference last week, decided to produce 75 feature films this year, 23 more than originally planned, in the spirit of socialist emulation now sweeping the country. A good number will be in colour. In 1957, 40 feature films were produced.

Reflecting present trends in Chinese art, a good proportion of the new films deal with the life of the workers, peasants and soldiers. At least two will be wide-screen: The Long March deals with the epic march of the Chinese Red Army from Kiangsi to Yenan; New Story of an Old Soldier tells a typical story of today about a demobilized veteran who gets a tough assignment as director of a new state farm in China's north-east but pulls it off, displaying the same grit and determination in mastering new farming techniques and business administration as he showed in fighting.

The film crop in 1958 will be a varied one, including many types of films. Apart from films reflecting present-day life, there will be historical films, such as The Opium War; films adapted from Chinese legends and folk tales, such as Mistress Clever; and films adapted from modern Chinese stories, such as The Shop of the Lin Family based on Mao Tun's short story of the same title.

Stories of the revolutionary struggle inspire some of the best scenarios. Daughters of the Communist Party, based on the background of the Second Revolutionary Civil War of 1927-36, is one of these and one of the first in colour too. Wang Hsiao-ho is the story of the workers in a Shanghai power plant and the struggles they waged against both the Japanese invaders and the Kuomintang. It is based on the actual life story of Wang Hsiao-ho, a trade union leader executed by Chiang Kai-shek's police. There will also be a film about the building of the spectacular Sikang-Tibet Highway and one about the creation of China's modern air force.

The Chinese film industry will also produce several films jointly with their colleagues from other countries. The Kite, a joint Chinese-French effort to entertain the children, will be released this year. Friends in Need, dedicated to the friendship between the Chinese and Korean peoples, will be made this year. Preparations are going ahead now for an early start with the camera on Moscow-Peking, a colour wide-screen production to be jointly made by Soviet and Chinese film workers. It shows how the Chinese people, helped by their Soviet comrades, have successfully fought floods that would have wiped out millions in the old days. The characters will include Soviet experts helping in China's national construction, veteran Chinese soldiers who fought in the October Revolution and Chinese students now studying in Moscow University.

Chinese and Soviet film teams will also collaborate to make Alma-Ata - Lanchow and Volga-Yangtse, two colour documentaries that will give ample opportunities to demonstrate the advantages of wide-screen technique in filming natural scenery.

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