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Living Revolution | Movies | Feature Films

Dong Cunrui
(Changchun Film Studio, 1955)
Dir. Guo Wei
This war film tells the story of a martyr who gave his life in order to save his comrades. It pays tribute to Dong at the same time as it glorifies the communist revolution and provides a model hero for the audience to emulate.

A young army reserve man Dong Cunrui and his friend Guo Zhenbiao attempt to join the Communist Party’s Eighth Route Army, but their applications are turned down because they are under the legal age. A local party branch leader gives his party membership dues to Dong for passing on to the organization in case he is killed when fighting the Japanese. By using this as a means of introduction, Dong is able to join the communist army.

The film forwards to a time when Dong is a party member engaged in the war of liberation against the Nationalists. During the battle to liberate Longhua, Dong and his comrades are sent to blow up the enemy’s blockhouses and clear the way for the advancing force. He is about to leave the area after successfully completing the job when a machinegun nest on a bridge is found to be blocking the communist’s progress. Dong manages to get under the bridge, but can’t find a place to lay his dynamite charge. As time slips away, and his comrades are gunned down, he holds the explosive to the bridge, lights the fuse and destroys the enemy’s gun emplacement, sacrificing himself in the process.

The film won the Ministry of Culture’s award for best film in 1957.

(adapted from Zhiwei Xiao’s entry on “Dong Cunrui”, in Yingjin Zhang and Zhiwei Xiao, eds., Encyclopedia of Chinese Film, London: Routledge, 1998, p.146.)

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