October 19, 2005


PradaLincoln Center is kicking off its 32 film celebration of 100 years of Chinese cinema this weekend (Oct. 21), and the most surprising news: Prada is responsible for 10 newly restored digital prints. Yep, that's right, the fashionable shoe and clothing house has moved into art preservation with their Fondazione Prada. Below are nine of the ten (I couldn't find the tenth):

NEW WOMAN (1934) - Ruan Lingyu's last movie. A few weeks after it was released, she committed suicide. If you came in late, Ruan Lingyu is the Chinese actress heartbreakingly portrayed by Maggie Cheung in CENTRE STAGE.

STREET ANGEL (1937) - this classic flick stars Zhou Xuan, the actress who is the focus of the young woman's obsession in the 2005 Chinese movie, ELECTRIC SHADOWS (which is being released theatrically in the US this December).

PRINCESS IRON FAN (1941) - China's first full-length animated film is a motion picture version of part of the classic Chinese novel, JOURNEY TO THE WEST.

THE PEREGRINATIONS OF THREE HAIRS (1949) - the movie adaptation of the famous comic character, "Three Hairs", from whom Sammo Hung took his name (Sammo).

CROWS AND SPARROWS (1949) - a much-loved Chinese classic, it started production during the KMT reign, and was released in the first year of the People's Republic of China. The bad guy? A KMT official, of course.

THE BIG ROAD (1934) - pals build a road to help the fight against the Japanese, who - in 1934 - had taken over much of China.

PLUNDER OF PEACH AND PLUM (1934) - sexual harrassment! Workplace safety! School principals sentenced to prison! This downbeat tale is one of China's first sound films.

CROSSROADS (1937) - another Zhao Xuan movie, this one a dark tale of workplace struggle, and disappointed lives.

SPRING IN A SMALL TOWN (1948) - this much-loved Chinese melodrama was remade by Tian Zhuangzhuang in 2002, and both versions of this movie (often called "the classic Chinese film") are in the line-up.

Oddly enough, for some reason Lincoln Center has chosen to illustrate its webpage for the Chinese films with a still from Masahiro Kobayashi's HARAKIRI.

(Thanks to The Reeler for first pointing this out)

October 19, 2005 at 12:15 PM in News | Permalink


That HARAKIRI still is not specific to the Chinese cinema series page; it also appears when you take a look at the "Les Blank's Louisiana" series and (more appropriately) the "Shochiku at 100" series.

Hope some of these Prada prints make their way Westward.

Posted by: Frisco Brian | Oct 19, 2005 5:02:29 PM

Does "digital prints" mean projected video?

Posted by: Steve | Oct 20, 2005 10:03:25 AM

I think it means digital projection, which - to my mind - looks incredible. Everything I've ever seen in digital projection has been amazing looking. That's how they showed the newly restored version of CENTRE STAGE at the HKIFF this year and according to people who were there it looked stunning.

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Oct 20, 2005 12:57:22 PM

First time in weeks I've had a chance to contribute something useful. Erm, yes-it would mean digital projection, which is a much higher resolution than video, depending on the format-Although, I checked around, and every site that mentioned "The Secret History of Chinese Cinema" referenced digitally restored prints, and not digital prints. Which would mean that they were probably projecting on film, since as I'm sure you're all aware, Digitally restored just means they removed scratches and did color correction on a computer.

Posted by: FiveVenoms | Oct 20, 2005 1:24:47 PM

Actually, it would mean digital projection, which is a much higher resolution and better image quality than projected video. Although I checked links to find the elusive "10th Movie" that was mentioned, and all of them seemed to only mention digitally restored prints, as opposed to digital prints, which would (probably) mean that they were projecting on film. If it was actual digital projection, people tend to mention it, since it's still more or less the hip new thing. But I could have easily overlooked something.

Posted by: FiveVenoms | Oct 20, 2005 1:32:39 PM

I got the distinct impression that while some of the prints were being projected in HD, which is of course the hip new thing, some others were "just" digitally restored, and would be shown on film. Minor semantics I realize, but it's been a while since I could contribute anything mildly useful here. You guys are just too damn good at this whole "Asian Movie Fan" stuff....

Posted by: FiveVenoms | Oct 20, 2005 1:39:47 PM

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