Crouching Stereotype, Hidden Forerunner

When we heard that a local theater would be screening a silent kung fu movie with live accompaniment, we were excited. It somehow didn't occur to us that a lot of movies from the 1920s are scary and racist, so when we watched the preview clip, it freaked us out a little. Wen Yimin's Red Heroine is one of a 13-part series of martial arts features made in Shanghai, and it's the only one still around, so the screening is a great and rare event. The film tells the story of a young woman who becomes a fearless and magical avenger of injustice; wirework and awesome old-fashioned visual effects abound. Silent film accompaniment experts the Devil Music Ensemble provide dramatic live music, with lots of pounding drums and suchlike. So there's a lot to like about Red Heroine, but be aware: One of the bad guys is named "Teeth," as in "buck teeth."
Fri., Sept. 19, 8:30 p.m., 2008

 
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