People of Western China, 1940


1940 Documentary about Chengdu People (Sichuan).
Instructional movie produced by Erpi Classroom Films Inc.
In collaboration with O.J.CALDWELL Formerly of University of Nanking

Life and work of the people who live in Chengtu, located in a valley in western China.

Contents. The life and work of the people who live in a valley in western China.

Chengtu lies cradled between lofty chains of mountains. There are views of its ancient wall, its temples and tombs, and its streets.

Outside the city the farmers cultivate their land as they have for centuries. An ancient irrigation system planned by Li Ping 2,000 years ago is still in use. Grain is made into flour in an old mill using water for power. Rice is hulled with apparatus ancient in design. The products of the farm are offered for sale in the markets of the city.

Following views of bamboo growing in a clump, the many uses of this product are indicated -- the making of furniture, household utensils, rope, sedan chairs, bridges, etc.

Some of the ancient crafts of China are pictured. As a potter is shown at work, the commentator says that the potter's wheels revolved during the classic dynasties of Tang and Sung and Ming. A silversmith works at his ancient trade. As silk weavers are shown, the commentator says that a legend claims that the Chinese have been weaving silk for over 4,000 years. Rich silk fabrics are displayed in the shops of the city. There are views of the mulberry trees on which the silkworms feed.

Modern science is changing the ancient ways of life. Modern electric power has brought with it the telephone, the electric light, and the motion picture projector. The Chinese farmer working in his fields sees modern automobiles and airplanes. Modern medical science replaces the herb doctor.

Appraisal. Good for (1) showing an ancient city located in western China, (2) indicating the agricultural practices of farmers in western China, and (3) showing the ancient handicrafts of that country. Should be useful in developing an appreciation of the antiquity of Chinese civilization and in indicating the influence of modern inventions on the Chinese way of life.

A sequence showing the many uses for bamboo suggests the ingenuity of the people in adapting an abundant native product to their needs. Although the film does not specifically mention the effect of the Japanese invasion, it can very well be used as background material for a study of that action.

Photography and sound are excellent.


People of Western China