Zheng Junli: From Shanghai’s Golden Age to the Cultural Revolution

October 3–November 16, 2019

Anchored by new restorations from the China Film Archive, this series explores the extraordinary career of Zheng Junli, an actor, director, film theorist, and victim of the Cultural Revolution.

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  • Struggling

  • New Women

  • The Spring River Flows East

  • The Big Road

  • Upcoming
    Films
  • Past
    Films
  • Past
    Events

Upcoming Films

  • Struggling

    Shi Dongshan
    China, 1932

    Digital Restoration

    • Thursday, October 3 7 PM
    Introduction by Paul Fonoroff and Zheng Dali; Judith Rosenberg on Piano

    The tale of a young woman’s battle against her bullying father expands into a rousing cry against all tyranny in Shi Dongshan’s strikingly fresh 1932 melodrama, recently rediscovered through a brilliant restoration from the China Film Archive.

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  • The Blood of Passion on the Volcano

    Sun Yu
    China, 1932

    Digital Restoration

    • Friday, October 4 7 PM
    Introduction by Paul Fonoroff and Zheng Dali; Judith Rosenberg on Piano

    A warlord’s lusty nephew destroys a simple farming family’s pastoral idyll and sends its favorite son into tropical exile in Sun Yu’s delirious fusion of Chinese peasant drama with Hollywood-style island exotica.

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  • Crows and Sparrows

    Zheng Junli
    China, 1950

    Digital Restoration

    • Sunday, October 6 1:30 PM
    Introduction by Paul Fonoroff and Zheng Dali

    A Shanghai apartment building serves as a microcosm of China’s class struggles in Zheng Junli’s striking urban drama, filmed during the last days of China’s Nationalist rule and already looking forward to, as one character says, “a New Society.”

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  • The Spring River Flows East

    Cai Chusheng, Zheng Junli
    China, 1947

    Digital Restoration

    • Thursday, October 10 6:30 PM

    Included on the Hong Kong Film Awards list of the greatest Chinese-language films of all time, this decades-spanning epic following a couple’s separation during the Sino-Japanese War has been called China’s Gone with the Wind.

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  • Nie Er

    Zheng Junli
    China, 1959

    Digital Restoration

    • Saturday, October 12 5:45 PM
    Introduction by Weihong Bao

    Shot in gorgeous color, this fascinating communist flipside to fifties Hollywood music biopics chronicles the life and tragic early death of Nie Er, the composer of the PRC’s national anthem.

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  • Husband and Wife

    Zheng Junli
    China, 1951

    Digital Restoration

    • Sunday, October 20 4:30 PM

    A Shanghai intellectual marries an illiterate peasant woman–turned–collectivist hero in this Maoist take on the Hollywood marriage melodrama, as fascinating an example of genre filmmaking in the PRC as you’ll find.

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  • New Women

    Cai Chusheng
    China, 1935

    Digital Restoration

    • Saturday, October 26 7:30 PM
    Judith Rosenberg on Piano

    A strong-willed teacher and writer (Ruan Lingyu) is driven to despair by gossip and lecherous men in this hard-hitting melodrama that gained further power from Ruan’s own post-filming suicide.

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  • The Big Road

    Sun Yu
    China, 1935

    Digital Restoration

    • Saturday, November 2 5:30 PM
    Introduction by Weihong Bao; Judith Rosenberg on Piano

    A group of Chinese youth awaken to their patriotic duty while building a strategic highway in Sun Yu’s stirring agitprop drama, set during the Japanese invasion and starring a who’s-who of legendary Chinese actors, including Jin Yan (the “Chinese Valentino”), Zheng Junli, and Li Lili.

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  • The Spring Comes to the Withered Tree

    Zheng Junli
    China, 1961
    • Sunday, November 10 1 PM

    Two rural lovers—one struck with a deadly disease—encounter both disaster and hope in Zheng’s intriguing merger of Soviet-style socialist realism with his own blossoming experiments in cinematic technique.

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  • Li Shanzi

    Zheng Junli
    China, 1963

    This screening is temporarily unavailable for purchase. Please watch this space for updates.

    • Saturday, November 16 7:30 PM
    Introduction by Weihong Bao

    This never-released political melodrama offers an intriguing look at the intersections of art and politics in Maoist China, as it follows a female agricultural co-op activist organizing her comrades for a big harvest—and denouncing any who fail. Partially filmed in North Korea.

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