Scenes of City Life
A screening of the 1935 film set in Shanghai
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The Getty Center
Never before shown outside China, director Yuan Muzhi's innovative fantasy uses live action, still photographs, animation, sound, and even a peep show to depict the love triangle between a pawnshop owner's daughter and two young men from opposite economic classes. Set in the bustling metropolis of 1930s Shanghai, this treasure in early Chinese cinema provides an incisive critique of the city's consumer culture.
China's first musical comedy, this landmark film features left-wing film critic and dramatist Tang Na, comedienne Wu Ying, and Chairman Mao's last wife, who went by the screen name of Lan Ping, in one of her earliest screen roles. Director Yuan Muzhi, who was also a dramatist, actor, and the first director of the Film Bureau of the People's Republic of China, also stars. The film's cinematographer is Wu Yinxian and its score was composed by He Luting, with lyrics by Y. R. Chao.
Directed by Yuan Muzhi 袁牧之, 1935, 92 min., DVD of 35mm original print.
Introduction by Weihong Bao, Assistant Professor, Chinese Film & Media Culture, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures, Columbia University.
This film is subtitled in English.