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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Shen nu" )

directed by Yonggang Wu
China 1934

Ruan Lingyu, one of the most famous stars of early Chinese cinema, gives a devastating performance as an unnamed goddess an ironic euphemism for a prostitute in this profoundly moving but rarely seen classic of world cinema. A tragic tale of shame and maternal sacrifice, Ruan stars as a mother desperate to provide for her young son and forced to take brutal vengeance on her pimp. It is a profoundly moving drama, all the poignant by the fact that its star committed suicide at the age of 24, a year after the film's release.

Newly restored by the Chinese Film Archive, this iconic film boasts a new score by renowned composer Zou Ye. Premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in 2014, this long-awaited release makes one of the most important early Chinese films finally available on DVD in the UK, and will delight all fans of silent cinema.

***

The great actress Ruan Lingyu earned international acclaim for her powerful performances in a series of social dramas made between 1927 and 1935. Her success brought her much fame that caused her to commit suicide at the age of 24. In The Goddess (1934), Ruan Lingyu portrays a single mother whose only hope for supporting her son is to submit to a life of prostitution. The film is a heartbreaking look at life under the strictures of an intolerant society.

Posters

Theatrical Release: 1934 - China

Reviews                                                                  More Reviews                                                                 DVD Reviews

 

DVD Comparison:

San Francisco Silent Film Festival (NTSC) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. San Francisco Silent Film Festival (PAL) - Region 0 - PAL vs. German/French TV channel ARTE - Region 0 - PAL vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman and Pavel Borodin for the San Fran and German DVD Screen Caps!

1) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (NTSC) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (PAL) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) German/French TV channel ARTE - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Region 0 - NTSC

San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Region 0 - PAL
German/French TV channel ARTE
Region 0 - PAL
BFI
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:14:30 1:14:30 1:19:40 1:19:54
Video

4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.71 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5:70 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.48 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.2 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

San Francisco Silent Film Festival (NTSC)

 

Bitrate:

 

San Francisco Silent Film Festival (PAL)

 

Bitrate:

 

German/French TV channel ARTE

 

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0

Dolby Digital 2.0

MPEG-1

LPCM 2.0
Subtitles English or Chinese intertitles English or Chinese intertitles Chinese intertitles with German subtitles English over Mandarin intertitles, or none
Features Release Information:
Studio: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 4:3

Edition Details:
• Both NTSC and PAL versions
• English version and Chinese version
• commentary by Richard J. Meyer

DVD Release Date:
Keepcase

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 4:3

Edition Details:
• Both NTSC and PAL versions
• English version and Chinese version
• commentary by Richard J. Meyer

 

DVD Release Date:
Keepcase

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio: German/French TV channel ARTE

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 4:3

Edition Details:
• First recorded to VHS, then digitized...

 

DVD Release Date:
Chapters

Release Information:
Studio:BFI

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 4:3

Edition Details:
• None

 

DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2017
Keepcase

Chapters 9

 

 

 

Comments ADDITION: BFI - Region 2 - PAL - April 2017: The BFI provides the best presentation. It must be a different *more information) and/or restored source. It is transferred to a dual-layered disc in the PAL standard. It has no combing artifacts, optional English subtitles for the Mandarin intertitles and no extras. There is a new score by renowned composer Zou Ye in linear PCM. This does show the, most, complete version of the film. A 'must own' for cinema fans everywhere...

***

ON THE DVDs: The San Francisco Silent Film Festival PAL version appears to be the sharpest. The German/French TV counterpart has had significant contrast boosting and is zoomed in. There appears to be different damage spots on the versions. Obviously the San Francisco Silent Film Festival DVD is the only option (offering both PAL and NTSC) although the time differences compared to the German/French show a missing 5 minutes. Unusual but both the NTSC and PAL editions on the San Francisco Silent Film Festival DVD share the exact same time meaning that one was not prepared properly for its required video format . as the NTSC side is significantly hazier (greenish/brown tinge) I would guess that it is the culprit. Our meager suggestion is if you own the San Francisco Silent Film Festival DVD and own a PAL compatible player - watch the PAL version. It is quite possible that someone may have such a dire interest in this film that they may consider purchasing a Region-Free player to watch the superior version.

 -Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwanese Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"


DVD Menus

 

(San Francisco Silent Film Festival (NTSC) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. San Francisco Silent Film Festival (PAL) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. German/French TV channel ARTE - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

 

 

BFI - Region 2 - PAL

 


 

Subtitle / Intertitle Sample

 

1) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (NTSC) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (PAL) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) German/French TV channel ARTE - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 


Screen Captures

 

1) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (NTSC) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (PAL) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) German/French TV channel ARTE - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 


1) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (NTSC) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (PAL) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) German/French TV channel ARTE - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 


1) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (NTSC) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (PAL) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) German/French TV channel ARTE - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 


1) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (NTSC) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (PAL) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) German/French TV channel ARTE - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 


1) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (NTSC) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (PAL) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) German/French TV channel ARTE - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 


1) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (NTSC) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) San Francisco Silent Film Festival (PAL) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) German/French TV channel ARTE - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

More BFI Captures


Associated Reading  (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

Metropolis (Bfi Film Classics, 54)
by Thomas Elsaesser
Movie Posters of the Silent Film Era To Color
by Rex Schneider,
Christopher Buchman
 
American Film Cycles: The Silent Era (Bibliographies and Indexes in the Performing Arts)
by Larry Langman
Family Secrets: The Feature Films of D. W. Griffith
by Michael Allen
The First Female Stars : Women of the Silent Era
by David W. Menefee
Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses
by Anthony Slide
 
The Silent Cinema Reader
by Lee Grieveson, Peter Kramer
Silent Stars Speak: Interviews With Twelve Cinema Pioneers
by Tony Villecco
Haunted Screen Expressionism in the German Cinema
by Lotte Eisner
DVD Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Region 0 - NTSC

San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Region 0 - PAL
German/French TV channel ARTE
Region 0 - PAL
BFI
Region 2 - PAL

 


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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...