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In the mood for movie music

2006-07-28 16:05

  The nation's first-ever digital movie library entitled “Shanghai Memory” was clearly designed with nostalgia in mind.

  Household chinese movie songs, dark heavy-color Web pages and an elegant layout all combine to present the perfect setting to enjoy the many musical tracks of Chinese cinema.

  According to Zhang Wei, an official from Shanghai Library who is in charge of this program, the building of this digital movie library has cost them hundreds of thousand yuan over the past year. By the end of this year, it will be completed.

  “Shanghai Library boasts the richest collection of historical material of Chinese cinema,”says Zhang. “So, we thought why not put them on the Internet and share the material with more people?”

  With quick links and a powerful Website search engine, movie fans can save time and energy in searching for the right information on the bookshelves. Additionally, it is a good way of protecting some rare pieces from the damage that might occur in the process of lending and borrowing.

  The front-page of the digital movie library is distinguished by two magnolias - the flower of Shanghai - and an antique pocket watch. So far two categories are available - movie periodicals from 1921-49 and detailed profiles of old Chinese film artists.

  “We have more than 300 varieties of old Chinese movie periodicals, some of which were only published overseas such as in Singapore,” Zhang explains. “Before 1949, China filmed more than 3,000 movies. These invaluable first-hand materials can provide scholars and experts with a detailed chronicle of our film industry.”

  Internet browsers can probably find more fun in the profile category, where information about 100 Chinese movie stars has been included. Many stories have been exclusively released for the first time.

  In addition to photos and film music, people can get a clear picture about these film stars from their detailed filmography, sentimental essays and people's comments on their performances.

  Famous actress and singer Zhou Xuan said in her monologue printed in a periodical 63 year ago: “Three years ago, I am nameless. Three years later, I am all the same.” These remarkable words show Zhou's modesty and never-fading passion for film art even after she had risen to become a big star.

  Heartthrob actress Ruan Lingyu, who committed suicide in 1935, sung a beautiful song with actor Jin Yan in the 1930s movie “Yecao Xianhua” (“Weed and Wild Flower”)。 Though Ruan's voice seems obscure among the noises of the old disc, it is a reminder of the versatile star's artistic talent.

  Experts note that digital libraries are a trend for the future development of national libraries. They provide a convenient platform utilizing efficient search engines and give easy accessibility that will satisfy today's younger users.

  By the end of this year, Shanghai Library will put another 25,000 priceless photos in this digital library, covering old Shanghai's entertainment venues, streets, shops, people and interesting folk cultures.

  For more information, check the Website (in Chinese)memoire.digilib.sh.cn/SHNH/

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