The oldest surviving Chinese martial arts film, featuring Fan Xuepeng – one of the first stars of the genre and an influential figure in the Chinese film industry who went on to establish her own production company.
The ever-popular sword-and-sorcery’s classic story structure of an innocent wronged by a villain, trained by a master, and returning to seek vengeance is all here. The occasionally clunky contemporary English translation of the intertitles, the fantastically pronounced teeth of the pantomime villain and the low-rent harem are all part of the fun, but the pay-off is a satisfying finale in which the Red Heroine shows everyone who’s boss.
Dir. Wen Yimin | China | 1929 | N/C PG | b&w | Chinese & English intertitles | 1h 34m
With: Fan Xuepeng, Wang Chuqin, Zhu Shaoquan, Zhao Taishan, Qu Yifeng
Performing live: John Sweeney & Frank Bockius (piano, percussion)
Screening material courtesy of the China Film Archive
Supported by the Confucius Institute for Scotland