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Biographical film depicts literary legacy and rural transformation

By Xu Fan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-05-16 10:59

Biographical film Zhou Libo recounts the titular character, a renowned Chinese writer, returning to his hometown in Qingxi village in Hunan province in the 1950s. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Over 60 years ago, the esteemed writer Zhou Libo bid farewell to Beijing, retracing his steps to his roots in Qingxi village, Hunan province, where he bore witness to the transformative effects of the country's rural policies. It was amid this backdrop of change that Zhou crafted one of his most enduring works, Shan Xiang Ju Bian (Great Changes in a Mountain Village), a novel that has enraptured generations of readers since its initial publication in 1958.

The narrative of this period in Zhou's life has now inspired the creation of the biographical film, Zhou Libo, which recently took center stage at a seminar held in Beijing on Monday. Tan Zhongchi, former chairman of the Hunan Provincial Federation of Literary and Art Circles, hailed the film not only as a homage to Zhou, who passed away in 1979, but also as a testament to a lesser-known yet invaluable chapter in modern Chinese literary history.

Director and scriptwriter Zhao Nan shared insights into the meticulous research that went into the film, delving into Zhou's literary oeuvre, speeches, family accounts, and expert opinions to weave a rich tapestry of storytelling. Choosing to spotlight the pivotal year of 1955 when Zhou returned to Qingxi village, the film captures a crucial juncture in the writer's life and the societal landscape.

"We have drawn from Zhou's distinctive writing style, infusing the narrative with conflicts stemming from divergent interests among individuals and communities to enhance the depth and complexity of the characters," Zhao said during the seminar, shedding light on the creative process behind the cinematic portrayal of Zhou's legacy and the rural transformation he chronicled.

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