Chinese Silent Films, Bo’ness Hippodrome: 23 & 25 March

For the second year our Institute is supporting Hippfest – Scotland’s only festival hippodromeIntdedicated to silent cinema with world-class music, red carpet glamour, and rarely-seen silent era films. Taking place in the retro surroundings of the Hippodrome, Bo’ness, the programme running on the afternoon of Thursday 23rd March focuses exclusively on China. Additionally, on Saturday 25th at 4.30pm, there will be a showing of The Goddess – a masterpiece of social realism.

Read on for more details or download the full programme for the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival 2017.

Thursday 23 March 2017: **Double Bill Offer**
Women in Chinese Silent Cinema 2pm-3.15pm

paul pickowiczIn this talk with screenings Prof. Paul Pickowicz will explore the golden age of Chinese silent cinema. The legendary actresses of the early Chinese film world dominated the silver screens of Shanghai and captivated the imaginations of the rapidly growing urban film audiences.



Accompanying the screenings selected by Paul will be Forrester Pyke, one of the most highly respected silent film accompanists in Scotland.

Around China with a Movie camera’ 4pm-5.10pm

Around ChinaThis will be followed at 4pm with the first Scottish showing of ‘Around China with a Movie Camera’ from the British FIlm Archive. Featuring rare and beautiful travelogues, newsreels and home movies viewers are taken on a journey through time and across China. See Shanghai’s bustling, cosmopolitan Nanjing Road in 1900, and a day at the Shanghai races in 1937. Cruise Hangzhou’s picturesque canals and visit China’s remote villages in Hunan and Yunnan provinces. Made by British and French filmmakers – from professionals to intrepid tourists, colonial-era expatriates and missionaries – this programme explores fifty years of Chinese history and includes possibly the oldest surviving film to be shot in China, unseen for over 115 years.

Accompanying this silent film on piano will be Ruth Chan, who was commissioned by the BFI to compose the music for this programme. Ruth will introduce the screening and share her personal insight into her composition, the instruments used and the unique challenge of creating music for this extraordinary footage.


Call 01324 506850 to book these two events for only £10.00 inclusive of tea/coffee and cake! Or visit the website for full details of the Hippfest programme and to book online.

25 March 2017: The Goddess (Shen Nu) 4.30pm-5.45pm

A masterpiece of social realism featuring Chinese superstar Ruan Lingyu as a struggling mother who takes to prostitution on the streets of Shanghai in order to shelter her son from the corrupt city and give him a better chance in life.

The GoddessThis devastatingly beautiful and recently restored film was made by first time director/writer/designer Yonggang aged just 27-years-old, and draws its greatpower from the striking and subtle performance by Ruan. Ruan’s heartrending and sympathetic portrayal ofa self-sacrificing woman at the mercy of society’s hypocrisy was a sensation that was tragically echoed in her real-life. On the eve of her trial for adultery and after months of tabloid harassment Ruan killed herself, aged 24, just one year after the release of  ‘The Goddess’.

Performing live to accompany this classic will be John Sweeney on piano

Director:  Wu Yongang, 1934, 1hr 13m
With:  Ruan Lungyu, Tian Jian, Zhang Zhizhi

Call 01324 506850 to book your ticket or visit the website for full details of the Hippfest programme and to book online.