MIFF is pleased to announce that it has secured the talents of one of Australia's leading exponents of traditional Chinese music to accompany its screening of Love and Duty. Wang Zheng-Ting, who initially trained at the Shanghai Music Conservatory, will accompany the film with Chinese and Shanghainese folk songs from the 1920s and 30s, on a variety of traditional instruments.
Love and Duty (1931) is rightly revered as the premier vehicle for the talents of Chinese silent film legend Ruan Lingyu.
A passionate family drama about a woman who pays dearly for following her heart, Love and Duty gains its emotional punch not only from its portrayal of the classic theme of impossible love, but from its resemblance to Ruan's own life. The story of a woman on the wrong side of society's expectations was an uncanny reflection of Ruan's own troubled situation. Her personal life was a matter of public controversy and reproach for several years until (and here it parts from the film) it tragically ended with her suicide at the age of 24.
Love and Duty offers four roles to Ruan Lingyu and in each she is astounding: First, she's a carefree young girl discovering love; then a society matron who leaves everything to elope with her lover; then an older, poverty-stricken seamstress; and finally her own daughter.
D Wancang Bu S Elmond Yeung WS Chinese Taipei Film Archive L no dialogue TD 35mm/BW/1931/152mins
Wancang Bu was born in China in 1903 and died in 1974. His films include The Sins of Our Father (1949), Portrait of a Lady (1952) and The Lost Love (1961).
Additional quote if we can find the space: “Viewing silents or any movie more two hours long is usually more duty than pleasure but Love and Duty (1931) is a marvellous exception.” - Senses of Cinema