Chinese classics


Koch Entertainment is releasing a number of DVDs of Chinese silents. This is excellent news. In 1995 the Pordenone Silent Film Festival put on a season of Chinese films from the 1920s and 1930s (silent cinema lasted for several years more than in the West) which were truly eye-opening. Here were dramas with the style, star quality and emotional power to match anything that Hollywood had produced at the peak of its silent production.

The titles announced are: Crossroads (1937) [sound]/Daybreak (1937) [silent], Street Angels (1937)/Twin Sisters (1934) , The Big Road (1934)/Queen of Sports (1934), and Romance of the Western Chamber (1927). The latter is released on 13 March; the others in May.

If you have to pick one title, go for Daybreak. This is one of the true classics of world cinema, let alone silent cinema. It’s a lush but moving melodrama in the Frank Borzage-style, poignant, lyrical, and starring the truly great Li Lili.

Details of all the DVDs (Region 1) can be found on DVD Planet. All have English titles.

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