Eternal love in Chinese cinema on top of a mountain
Walking through a lush park and down the stone steps, Yang Lin came as usual to one of China’s most special cinemas – one that has shown the same film for decades.
Perched atop Lushan Mountain in eastern China’s Jiangxi Province, the cinema screened Romance on Lushan Mountain thousands of times since its inception in 1980. Throughout this time, Yang has been the main projectionist, a job that has taken him from “Little Yang” with a childish face to “Old Yang” with slight wrinkles and hair Grey.
“I’ve only done one thing for most of my life: project Romance on Lushan Mountain. Through this movie, I found true love and started a family,” Yang said.
The film has long been considered a milestone in entertainment, being the first film screened in China that included a kiss scene after the reform and opening up in the late 1970s. With its beautiful love story embedded in the scenic landscape of Lushan, the film quickly became a hit nationwide.
Yang joined the cinema about 41 years ago and he will retire at the end of this year. He will miss operating the projector, but he has much to be grateful for.
On the one hand, the cinema introduced him to his wife, Wu Hui. This girl with pigtails and a warm laugh was assigned a film job, and Yang was then sent to join her.
“At that time, falling in love was nothing more than writing letters and making phone calls, but Romance on Lushan Mountain turned out to be a textbook on love for our generation,” Yang said.
With the movie playing on the screen every day, Yang and Wu felt there was a good atmosphere between them. Immersed in the romantic atmosphere of the film, the couple grow closer and love blossoms quickly.
Over the years, Yang and Wu have measured their most significant moments by the number of splashes. They met each other’s parents at the film’s 2,190th screening. By the 2,920th screening, they had married, and by the 3,902nd screening, their first baby had been born.
Romance on Lushan Mountain is still playing in the small cinema on Mount Lushan. It has already set a Guinness World Record for the longest first run of a film in a cinema.
According to the Lushan Scenic Area Management Bureau, about 250 out of 10,000 visitors will watch the film. In August, the cinema had attracted more than 3.9 million spectators.
From August 16 to Monday, the region hosted the 3rd Lushan International Romance Film Week, an event inspired by the 1980 film. Wu and Yang were invited to attend the first edition of the festival, and since then they have posed for photos with many film-loving tourists.
But the celebrity didn’t do much to change the couple’s routines. Although she retired 11 years ago, Wu still goes to the movies every night to accompany her husband, continuing the ritual that brought them together.
“Although we will stop screening the film very soon, our own ‘Lushan Mountain Romance’ will never end,” Yang said.