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Documentary on Lisbon Maru heroism opens Shanghai International Film Festival

ezhejiang.gov.cn| Updated: June 14, 2024 L M S

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A poster for The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru. [Photo/Tide News]

The Zhejiang-produced documentary The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru made its global debut on June 14, serving as the opening film for the 26th Shanghai International Film Festival, according to Tide News.

Directed and produced by filmmaker Fang Li, the documentary reveals a long-buried history from 82 years ago.

In October 1942, the Japanese transport ship Lisbon Maru, carrying 1,816 Allied prisoners of war (POWs) from Hong Kong to Japan, was torpedoed by a United States submarine near Dongji Island, Zhoushan.

The ship, which did not display any markings to indicate it was carrying POWs, sank. During the chaos, Allied prisoners trying to escape were shot by Japanese forces, while Zhoushan fishermen risked their lives to save the survivors.

In all, 384 British POWs were rescued by Chinese fishermen, for which the British government and people expressed their gratitude.

The film tells the stories of numerous Allied POW families, using interviews, rare historical footage, and animated reenactments. Over seven years, Fang and his team conducted extensive research, visiting the UK, US, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, and Zhoushan.

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Audience members are moved to tears during the film screening. [Photo/Tide News]

During the screening, many audience members were moved to tears, especially during scenes showing the heroic rescue by Zhoushan fishermen.

After the premiere, Fang introduced the film's production team, along with descendants of British POWs and Zhoushan fishermen who participated in the rescue.

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The film's production team, descendants of British survivors, and descendants of Zhoushan fishermen take the stage after the premiere. [Photo/Tide News]

Among the attendees were Wu Sizhen, an organizer of commemorative activities for the Lisbon Maru incident, and Denise Wynne, daughter of Denise Morley, the last survivor of Lisbon Maru.

"I am very excited. I have been looking forward to this film for seven years," Wu said.

"This is my first time in China. Visiting Dongji Island to see the shipwreck site has been my long-time wish, and now it has come true," said Wynne.

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Wu Sizhen (left) and Denise Wynne (right) pose for a photo. [Photo/Tide News]