Renowned Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky once said, “Let a person establish a relationship with the whole world,” encapsulating the infinite charm of film on people’s spiritual world.
As for the hardware facilities for screening films, as of the end of 2019, there were already 69,787 screens nationwide. However, there are still over 100 county-level administrative regions without physical cinemas. The “Opinions on Accelerating the Construction of Cinemas to Promote the Prosperous Development of the Film Market,” released by the State Film Administration, points out that while cinema construction has been developing rapidly and the number of screens is growing, there is an increasing problem of imbalanced and inadequate cinema development, particularly in central and western regions, county-level cities, and areas below that level.
How can we ensure the “film freedom” in rural areas?
In the rural library of Shiquan Village, Lijiaxiang Town, Changxing, closing the shutters and lowering the screen creates a rural digital cinema. “During the summer vacation, we show animated films like ‘Boonie Bears’ for the children, popular movies for young and middle-aged people on weekends, highlight main theme and red education during holidays, and also include traditional performances for the elderly on regular days,” explains the volunteers. With support from the county-level cinema, the rural area can have film and television resources similar to those in cities.
Currently, there are nearly 25,000 public cultural facilities of the “study room” type in Zhejiang Province. In March of this year, the magazine “Zhejiang Propaganda” published an article titled “The ‘Study Room’ Signboard Shouldn’t Just Be a Decoration,” calling for the exploration of effective operational models that include “books, spaces, and visitors.”
The Shiquan Rural Library provides an answer with its concept of a “comprehensive cultural activity space”: not only a library that serves borrowing functions and a cinema for screenings but also a youth palace that organizes “enlightenment ceremonies” and provides supplementary education, and it serves as an exchange and activity base for over 40 members of the Changxing Shicheng Calligraphy and Painting Society.
Shiquan Village has a long history rooted in the literary figures of the Southern Liang Dynasty, particularly the Wu family, who achieved great cultural accomplishments with “one family, four imperial scholars” during the Ming Dynasty. Now, the Shiquan Rural Library is housed in the former “Wu Residence Government Hall,” carrying the rich and enduring fragrance of books that has been passed down for centuries.