Patriotic movie ‘Island Keeper’ premieres in Beijing
Published: Jun 10, 2021 06:58 PM
Wang Jicai raises the national flag on the island. Photo: VCG

Wang Jicai raises the national flag on the island. Photo: VCG

The premiere of Chinese movie Island Keeper, a patriotic film about a married couple who guard a small Chinese islet for more than 30 years, was held in Beijing on Tuesday, ahead of the film's broad release in cinemas on June 18.

The 125-minute-long movie was adapted from the real experiences of Wang Jicai and his wife Wang Shihua. Although her husband died of a sudden illness in 2018 at age of 58, Wang Shihua has continued to stand watch on the island according to her husband's last wish.

Wang Jicai was the head of the militia post on Kaishan Island in East China's Jiangsu Province and, together with his wife, stood guard on the tiny island - roughly the same size as two football fields - for 32 years. They were the islet's only residents.

Director Chen Li and members of the cast, including actor Liu Ye and actress Gong Zhe, attended the premiere and discussed their experiences shooting the film with audiences afterwards.

Liu said that his skin grew almost as dark as the Wangs' skin while filming under the blazing sun by the sea every day and that his skin ended up peeling several times. 

Gong, who plays Wang Shihua, said their fierce ocean storms left a deep impression on her, adding that she remembers performing one scene in which she protects their vegetable garden while freezing from being soaked to the bone.

Audiences who watched the movie at the premiere shared their feelings after the debut. Some young people said they were shocked by how violent the storms and giant waves in the movie were and some female audience members said they were touched by the couple's deep love.

Others said they felt sympathy for the couple after seeing the tough conditions they had to face while living on the island but also were inspired by their fighting spirit.

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