Since so much of early Chinese cinema has been lost, the recent discovery of a nitrate 35mm print of Cave of the Spider Women in the archives of the National Library of Norway was cause for worldwide celebration.
Cave of the Spider Women is a rare example of the magic-spirit film, a popular genre in ’20s Shanghai, and its story comes from a classic masterpiece of Chinese literature involving a pilgrim monk and the search for Buddhist texts. The monk and his followers—monkey, pig, and shark spirit—ward off the Spider Queen who tries to seduce the pilgrim. The film set Chinese box-office records in 1927 but was considered lost until the discovery in Norway.
Plus: MODERN CHINA (China, 1910, 8 m.)
Extraordinary views of life and landscape in Beijing, filmed during the last years of China's Qing dynasty, before the 1911 Xinhai Revolution overthrew imperial rule. The focus is on everyday life, and the views of hawkers, laborers, traders, and artisans reveal the city's vibrant street culture. US premiere of BFI restoration.
Live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin and Frank Bockius
Introduced by Tina Anckarman from the National Library of Norway
Co-presented by the Center for the Art of Translation and the Center for Asian American Media