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May 17, 2021

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Forum hails Xujiahui’s ‘red’ cinema role

Xujiahui, a commercial landmark in downtown Shanghai, once served as the birthplace of China’s revolutionary films and songs that inspired Chinese people for generations, experts said over the weekend.

The prosperous commercial hub features the Pathe Villa, where China’s national anthem was recorded, as well as the Yinjiajiao area, where Shanghai Film Group is based.

“Yinjiajiao is the ‘red gene’ of the Chinese film industry,” said Xu Pengle, former vice president of the group, who has been working and living in the area for decades.

Classic left-wing movies such as the “Song of The Fishermen,” the first award-winning Chinese film, “Children of Troubled Times,” whose theme song later became China’s national anthem, as well as “The Goddess” starring famous actress Ruan Lingyu, were produced at the site.

Inspiring films such as the “Angels on the Road” and “The Adventures of Sanmao the Waif” were also produced there, Xu told a public forum at the villa on Saturday.

Senior musicians, officials from the film company and experts introduced the film and music history of the Xujiahui area, while sharing their personal experiences on the site, at the monthly Hui Forum.

The audience was invited to the third floor of the Pathe Villa at 811 Hengshan Road, which has newly reopened to the public after a major facelift.

Some 5,300 people have visited the villa since it reopened on May 1, said Jiang Yan, deputy director of the Xuhui District Culture and Tourism Bureau. The bureau plans to further explore the revolutionary history of Xujiahui and publish a book titled “The Red Gene of Xujiahui” this year.

Famous pianist Chen Gang who was born in 1935, the same year  the national anthem was initially recorded in the villa, said the song “March of the Volunteers” has been inspiring him all through his life.

His father Chen Gexin, known as the “father of China’s pop music,” recorded a dozen classic songs he composed in the villa, Chen said. They include the “Rose, Rose I Love You” and “Nightlife in Shanghai.”

Cai Jiaqian, assistant general manager of China Record Group Shanghai, said the classic song “Rose, Rose I Love You” once made the top of the US pop music list, and has been promoted across the world from the iconic villa.


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