Chongqing - Yu Qilin, a projectionist, tirelessly showcases movies in various settings, from villages and schools to communities, nursing homes, construction sites, and scenic spots.
He has witnessed the transition from black and white films to high-definition color movies, from old-fashioned projectors to digital ones. Yu plays a vital role in revitalizing rural culture, and his life is a remarkable tale of dedication to bringing culture to the general public.
The 59-year-old projectionist prepares for his daily work as a projectionist in Ping'an Town, Yunyang County, Chongqing. His motorcycle is loaded with equipment weighing over 220 pounds. This motorcycle serves as his sole means of transportation, as well as a rural movie theater and a dream realized over decades.
Yu's journey began when he was a young boy. Inspired by his oldest brother, a projectionist, he developed a passion for movies. At nineteen, he became a projectionist despite the challenges of transporting bulky equipment through villages with poor access roads.
Over the years, the roads have been improved from dirt to cement, and Yu upgraded his means of transportation from a bicycle to a motorcycle. With all his equipment secured on the motorcycle's back seat, he can now travel effortlessly.
One of the most memorable scenes of Yu's journey was navigating the river to reach a school for a movie screening. To avoid a longer land route, he chose a fishing boat. The strong river current made the journey perilous, with Yu anxiously guarding the equipment. Today, conditions have greatly improved, eliminating the need for such risky river crossings.
Yu's commitment to serving his audience has also evolved. Before each screening, he surveys the villagers, especially the elderly, to create a playlist that caters to their preferences. He watches the movies himself, introduces them to the audience, collects feedback, and then decides which movie to play.
While Yu often rides and works alone, he never feels lonely. He finds joy in interacting with the audience and learning from them, especially the elderly. Historical-themed movies resonate deeply with him, reminding him of the value of our present lives.
For the past 40 years, Yu has brought happiness to countless people, a reward greater than any honor he has received. His passion for his job remains unwavering, and he intends to continue projecting movies for as long as possible.
As the evening draws to a close, Yu packs up his equipment, closing his mobile movie theater for the night. Yet, the happiness he brings will persist as he heads to the next screening site.
(Liu Yujing, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)
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