The Goddess (1934) complete with a newly commissioned score, and accompanied live by the China Philharmonic Orchestra screened at the 2014 Beijing International Film Festival April 22.
The restoration of this iconic Chinese black and white, silent film undertaken by China Film Archive and British Film Institute, is the fruit of Sino-British collaborations through art and culture, and marks the first collaborative partnership between the KT Wong Foundation, the British Film Institute and the China Film Archive.
Lady Davies, founder of the KT Wong Foundation says: “The explosive growth in today’s Chinese film industry is impressive and reflects the country’s incredible economic success. By showcasing The Goddess, a jewel of Chinese cinema, we hope to give modern audiences an insight into the high artistic standard of early Chinese filmmaking dating back to the 1920s-1930s.”
The Goddess, originally made in 1933 Shanghai, was the first film by writer and director Wu Yong Gang who continued to make films in China until 1982. Together with his lead star Ruan Lingyu, this film has retained its iconic status and is one of the first films to be restored by the China Film Archive.
The Foundation has recently commissioned acclaimed Chinese composer Zou Ye to write a new score for the production. Music is integral to the identity and perception of the film. This new composition therefore is a contemporary response to an old classic masterpiece.
Says Lady Davies: “With this unique viewing experience we hope to remind the world of this unique period of Chinese film history which was highly creative. Chinese filmmakers were technically and artistically comparable to the great western masters of the same period.”
As this year sees the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and France, The Goddess’s European Premiere will be held at La Cinémathèque Française in Paris this June to open a programmme of 15 films, Goddess, Martyr, Heroine: A Portrait of Women in Chinese Cinema, spanning Chinese cinematic developments with a particular focus on the roles of Chinese women in Chinese history over the last century as shown though the art form.
The KT Wong Foundation has commissioned two famous Chinese composers to compose new music scores for The Goddess and the acclaimed French Black and White film La Belle et La Bete. Both of the films will be screened at Shanghai International Film Festival this June after the global premiere of The Goddess in Beijing.
Website for Beijing International Film Festival: http://www.bjiff.com/en/