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Chinese film heralds sacrifices of everyday heroes

By Yi Xiaoming | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-09-28 13:21

People watch a movie at the reopened Capital Cinema (Xidan branch) in Beijing, July 24, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The disaster film Cloudy Mountain was released on Sept 15. It was well-received and topped the box office for the Mid-Autumn Festival — not only because of the star-studded cast, but also the realistic and moving plot.

The hero, Hong Yizhou, played by Zhu Yilong is the director of a blasting laboratory. His girlfriend Lu Xiaojin, played by Jiao Junyan, is a geophysical radar technician. In the film, they both devote their life to national construction. Hong Yunbing, the hero's father, was a member of the railway corps when he was young. Many other famous actors and actresses are also involved. However, what is more appealing about the film is the well-knit plot.

In Yunjiang county of Guizhou province, a tunnel which took 10 years to build is nearing completion. Affected by global geological changes, the mountain suddenly shakes, and earthquakes, landslides, debris flows and other geological disasters strike the small town. Hong Yunbing had come to see his son, and by coincidence arrived in this time of disaster. But despite the difficult circumstances, he was calm and courageous. When he saw a bus was stuck, he went underground alone to rescue trapped passengers. Even after rescuers arrived, he didn't stop. Unfortunately, a second crack widened, burying them deep underground.

In the infinite depths of the earth, the suspense over whether they will escape keeps audiences anxious. At the same time, in two hours, a landslide would engulf Yunjiang county, home to 160,000 people. The only resolution to that conundrum would be to blow up the tunnel. The countdown element of this dilemma ratchets up the tension. Fortunately, the people trapped in the bus were able to find the exit, as Hong Yizhou finds a way to block the landslide by blasting another mountain. The devastation brought about by the disaster has a strong visual impact and the plot deeply grips audiences.

While American disaster films tend to stress the importance of individualism, Chinese ones show the value of collective spirit and identity. In Cloudy Mountain, the unity of people is moving. It is through unity that people can overcome difficulties. In Hollywood's movies, heroes with superpowers are the main characters, while in Chinese ones, ordinary people are the true heroes. Hong Yizhou is an ordinary engineer, but he risked his life by planting explosives in a cave on a cliff to save the county. His father Hong Yunbing is a ordinary person, once a railway soldier, but heroically sacrifices his life to help his son place the explosives. The tunnel workers, who had been building for 10 years, were willing to throw aside the fruits of their labor to save the people in Yunjiang County. They are all great people worthy of our respect.

Worth particular interest is old railway soldier Hong Yunbing. In order to rescue the passengers buried in the ground, he goes down alone. He also possessed professional knowledge to led people to look for an exit. In order to help his son successfully place the explosives to save the county, he climbed the cliff and was willing to take up the effort when his son couldn't continue. This spirit of sacrifice is the spirit of the railway soldiers. In peacetime, the railway corps made the most sacrifices dedicating generations of youth to the motherland by going to the place where they are most needed. When disaster strikes, they step up without hesitation to save people at all costs.

In reality, there are many ordinary people who are willing to do whatever it takes to help people in need. In last year's fight against the epidemic in Wuhan, there were medical workers who were too busy to eat dinner on New Year's Eve, and there were drivers who volunteered to deliver supplies. In this year's flood fight in Henan province, there were community workers who pulled a girl holding a tree to safety with banners, and there were ordinary people who rushed into the storm to save a girl from being washed away. They are all heroes.

As project manager Ding says in the film: "When disaster comes, the Western legend is Noah's Ark, while the stories of our ancestors are Jingwei filling up the sea and Yugong moving the mountains." Common people are also heroes. We should pay our respects to every ordinary person who contributes to national construction and development.

The author is a student at Shandong University.

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