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Helping Blind Enjoy a Big Screen Experience

Blind people can "watch" movies - but they need help and help is now on the way.


Two retired workers have begun a project that should enable more than 1,000 blind people enjoy full-length films before the end of the year.


The volunteers watch the film beforehand and prepare a script with additional narration so that they can tell the blind "viewers" what happens on screen in between the moments of dialogue.


Wang Shijie, the first man in Shanghai to do this, has attended dozens of screenings with more than 500 blind people across Shanghai since early this year.


The 62-year-old, with his assistant Chen Jiazhen, has prepared special screenings of prize winning films like "Still Life," which won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival last year, and "Tuya's Marriage," the Golden Bear Award for the Best Film at this year's Berlin Film Festival.


"I came up with the idea to help blind people 'watch' film when I heard about volunteers in Beijing doing this," Wang said. "I am very happy with my work and the blind people enjoy it as well."


It is expected that every district and county in the city will have at least one person trained for this in the future so that some 158,000 local blind people can "watch" films, according to the Shanghai Welfare Foundation for the Disabled.


(Shanghai Daily July 25, 2007)

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