Street Angel (Malu Tianshi)
“A haunting tragi-comedy about four young people on the lowest rung of Shanghai society in the 1930s, clearly indebted to Borzage's early films but with a freshness all its own. An angry vein of social criticism sharpens the warmth of the humour and performances.” --NFT.
“Street Angel was very much a collaborative work - as were most of the left-wing films made in Shanghai in the 1930s and 1940s. Closely associated with the radical May 4th Movement, the film ingeniously circumvented KMT censorship in two ways: by presenting its low-life setting as a ‘world apart,' and referring to larger social and political realities only through newspaper headlines and other incidental details; and by borrowing many of its comic and stylistic elements from ‘acceptable' Hollywood films....
“(T)he influence of Borzage and other Hollywood directors like him is... strong in the film's visual style: the frank artifice of some of the sets, the chiaroscuro lighting. Yuan is a great deal more direct than Borzage in presenting sexual incidents, as befits the film's emphasis on the abject position of single women in traditional Chinese society....” --“Electric Shadows...”