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

  • 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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  • Crows and Sparrows

    Zheng Junli
    China, 1950

    Digital Restoration

    Crows and Sparrows also screens with a discussion with film critic Paul Fonoroff and Zheng Dali (son of director Zheng Junli) on Sunday, October 6.

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

    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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Past Films

  • Nie Er

    • Saturday, October 12 5:45 PM
    Zheng Junli
    China, 1959

    Digital Restoration

    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.

    Introduction by Weihong Bao

  • CANCELED—The Spring River Flows East

    • Thursday, October 10 6:30 PM
    Cai Chusheng, Zheng Junli
    China, 1947

    As part of the UC Berkeley campus power shutdown, BAMPFA will be closed until further notice for gallery visitors, film screenings, classes, and library access. More info

    Digital Restoration

    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.

  • Crows and Sparrows

    • Sunday, October 6 1:30 PM
    Zheng Junli
    China, 1950

    Digital Restoration

    Crows and Sparrows also screens with a lecture by UC Berkeley professor Weihong Bao on Saturday, November 16.

    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.”

    Introduction by Paul Fonoroff

  • The Blood of Passion on the Volcano

    • Friday, October 4 7 PM
    Sun Yu
    China, 1932

    Digital Restoration

    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.

    Introduction by Paul Fonoroff and Weihong Bao; Judith Rosenberg on Piano

  • Struggling

    • Thursday, October 3 7 PM
    Shi Dongshan
    China, 1932

    Digital Restoration

    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.

    Introduction by Paul Fonoroff and Weihong Bao; Judith Rosenberg on Piano