China to play dozens of films to mark CPC's 85th birthday
China will release a number of films between June 20 and July 10 to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
"The Forest Ranger," the Best Feature Film winner at the 13th Beijing Student Film Festival and a candidate for the 9th Shanghai International Film Festival, is among the 26 movies to mark the CPC's anniversary. It features a ranger who dies of protecting a state-owned forest. The film reveals some social problems in the environmental protection in China.
The screenings are being initiated by the Chinese Film Circulation and Projection Association, China Film Producers' Association and the City Cinema Association of China, and supported by the the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).
"It is the CPC that turned China's film making around as it was neglected and weak before new China was founded in 1949," Tong Gang, director of the Film Bureau of the SARFT, told a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday.
"Cinema companies must land the support of local governments in playing these films and should pay attention to the rural market not just the urban one," he added.
The CPC was founded in Shanghai in July, 1921 and July 1 is regarded as its birthday.
"It's a duty of the Chinese filmmakers to pay a tribute to the CPC and express their devotion and loyalty to the CPC," said Yang Buting, board chairman of the China Film Group Corporation (CFGC), the biggest film production and distribution company in China.
The movies also include "Legend of Seasons," about a college graduate who volunteers to works to educate the poor in rural areas, "Endless Love," about a CPC official who wholeheartedly helps the public solve problems, "The Backbone," a documentary film following generations of CPC leaders including Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
"DA VINCI CODE" MAKING WAY
Proposed by the three associations, the CFGC pulled the blockbuster "The Da Vinci Code" from Chinese cinemas last Friday, three weeks after its release here.
The withdrawal is to make way for homemade movies releasing in the upcoming month, Weng Li, deputy manager of the exhibition and distribution arm of the CFGC told Xinhua.
"We made a purely commercial decision. No single film could monopolize the market for one or two months, not even in the United States," Weng said, "We must make room for the next month when the homemade films will show across the country."
Having made 104 million yuan (13 million U.S. dollars) since its release on May 19, "The Da Vinci Code" was on its way to becoming one of the most profitable foreign films in China.
The film has sparked controversy around the world and courted accusations of blasphemy with its premise that the Catholic church tried to cover up the supposed marriage of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.
However, there will also be three U.S. blockbusters -- "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown," "Poseidon" and "Sahara" -- showing in Chinese cinemas during the three weeks. BOOST TO HOMEMADE FILMS
Both state-owned and private film companies generally organize film shooting and screening on significant political occasions in China, which is also seen as a boost to the disadvantaged homemade films.
China released a wave of war movies to mark the 60th anniversary of the victory in World War II last year, including a cartoon version of 1963's "Little Soldier Zhang Ga," a film about a teenage guerrilla fighter and "My Mother Zhao Yiman," a son's memory of his heroine mother killed by Japanese.
"On Mt. Taihang", depicting the anti-Japanese war of the Eighth Route Army led by the CPC was listed again in the showing schedule this time.
"It's a good chance of expanding the influence of the home-made movies in the domestic market to show them on such occasions," Yang said.
Only 90 of a record 260 home-made films had been screened in China's cinemas last year, according to Zhang Hongsen, deputy director of the film bureau under the SARFT.
"But even many of those films failed to reach an audience as they were withdrawn the day after release due to a lack of interest, so there were just over 30 movies that audiences really watched in the cinema last year," he said in April.
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