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Song of the Fishermen

Yu Guang Qu

The struggles of a poor family living near Shanghai are illustrated in this silent film by director Cai Chusheng. Newly restored by China Film Archive and screened with a live musical accompaniment, it is an iconic film pairing bleak social commentary with strikingly beautiful and detailed shots.
Schedule
May 25, 2014
Sunday
7:00 PM SIFF Cinema Uptown Date has passed

The misfortune of a poor family living close to Shanghai and their struggle through life is illustrated in this silent film by director Cai Chusheng. A penniless woman gives birth to twins and then immediately afterward is made to work as a nurse for a rich family and their children. Although the class difference is dramatic, the wealthy young boy becomes friends with the impoverished twins, feeling a familial tie because of the role their mother played in his upbringing. They grow up, and the wealthy young man finds a job overseas in the maritime business. The twins follow and do their best to survive on the tough streets of Shanghai, waiting in chaotic, fruitless factory job lines before eventually joining a street performance group. Tragedy and disappointment follow the twins as they work to survive, and the divide between them and their childhood friend becomes far more depressingly revelatory. Newly restored by China Film Archive and being screened with a live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin, Song of the Fishermen is an iconic film pairing bleak social commentary with strikingly beautiful and detailed shots.

Director Biography

Born in Shanghai but raised in Shantou, Guangdong, Cai Chusheng started out working for several small film studios as a director’s assistant before following his own director’s vision in 1932 with Pink Dream. His silent drama Song of the Fishermen was the first Chinese film to win at an international film festival, that being the Moscow Film Festival in 1935.

Sponsored by Stanford Film, Delta Air Lines

Director: Cai Chusheng
Principal Cast: Wang Ren-Mei, Kwah-Wu Shang, Tianxiu Tang, Langen Han, Peng Luo
Country: China
Year: 1934
Running Time: 57 minutes
Screenplay: Cai Chusheng
Cinematographers: Ke Zhou
Filmography: Waves on the Southern Shore (1963); The Spring River Flows East (1947); Boundless Future (1940); Orphan Island Paradise (1939); Fifth Brother Wang (1937); Lost Lambs (1936); New Women (1935); Dawn Over the Metropolis (1933); Spring in the South (1932); Pink Dream (1932); Facting the National Crisis (1932)
Language: Silent
Format: DCP
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