This silent film, with an added soundtrack, is set during the time of the resistance war against the Japanese invasion. Six young male workers and two waitresses in a roadside restaurant experience a political awakening when they participate in the construction of a strategically important road for the Chinese army. They have different characters and come from different social backgrounds. Jin is optimist in spite of his miserable childhood; Zhang is melancholic and solitary; Luo is a romantic dreamer; Zheng, a student fleeing Manchuria after the Japanese occupation, is an intellectual type; Zhangda is characterized by his physical strength; Xiaoliu used to be a petty thief, but he is redeemed by his friends. As for the two waitresses, Dingxiang is shy and looks up to Moli, who is aggressive and resourceful. Dingxiang falls in love with Luo, while Moli prefers to remain friends with all six workers. Meanwhile, the Japanese get closer. A rich local landlord betrays the Chinese resistance force by trying to slow down road construction. When they oppose him, he imprisons and tortures them. Thanks to Moli and Dingxiang, they escape and go back to work. The road is finally completed, but Moli and the six workers die in a Japanese bombing. As the only survivor of the group, Dingxiang dreams that her friends are revived and march ahead. —http://chinesecinema.ucsd.edu/film/dalu.html
Sun Yu was born on March 21, 1900 in Chongqing (Chungking), Sichuan province, to an intellectual family which valued education highly. Sun’s father, who had been a successful scholar at the provincial level during the Qing (Manchu) dynasty, was a historical researcher who traveled around China, and as a boy Sun Yu often went along, which added considerably to the future filmmaker’s experience and knowledge. The family later moved to Shanghai, where Sun Yu saw his first movie in a theater.
After graduating from middle school, Sun Yu passed the entrance exams for admission to Qinghua University, where movies and poetry became his twin passions. In his third year, he entered a film reviewing competition and won the grand prize. Among the judges in the competition were future Chinese film directors Zhu Shilin and Fei Mu, while the chair of the panel was Luo Mingyou, who as the head of the Lianhua (United Photoplay Service) Film Company would one day rewrite the history of Chinese… read more