Thursday, 1 March 2007

Peach Blossom Weeps Tears of Blood (1931)

Chinese title: Peach Blossom Weeps Tears of Blood (桃花泣血記).
English title: The Peach Girl.

Peach Blossom Weeps Tears of Blood (1931)
Making her life altering decision in the peach orchid
For English speakers, 1 of the great thing about watching this Chinese silent  film is that you don't need to worry about English subtitle. Not that they don't have dialogues because they're silent. They do have dialogues. It's written, not spoken dialogues. And it's written in both Chinese and English (Shanghai was a city with European Concessions). Since the subtitles fill the whole screen. It's more correct to call it main titles.

This movie is starred with the Chinese Queen of the Silent Film, Lily Yuen (or Ruan Lingyu). Died at an age of 24 cemented her as an icon of her era. This film is the 1st of her 4 immortal classics (the other 3 are all in my Chinese IMDB list). And these 4 are only 4 of the total 8 survived the ravages of time, out of the 29 silent films she appeared in. The scratches and dirt on the surviving films are to be expected. But considered that the rest had perished, the restored ones actually quite watchable.

If you're over 100 years old (yes lucky you) and saw the original screening in the cinema, there will be somebody playing the piano in the dark, just a corner off the silver screen. To simulate that performance, a piano recording is now dubbed into this silent film, and now you can have your own personal pianist.

It's a melodrama of a pair of star-crossed lovers. Unlike Romeo 'n Juliet where the obstacle to their happiness is their feuding families, in this story, the obstacle is the cursed wide gap of the social classes of their families. Have things changed so much?

Fun Facts:
  • The 2 leads were known in their days as the "Valentino" n "Garbo" of Shanghai cinema.
  • In this movie, you'll learn that the phrase "making love" means something much more polite than it's today.
  • Film 'set' was much more loose and open. A goat or a stray dog could just wander into the middle of a film shoot (making it more authentic).

Watch The Peach Girl in Youku.

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