Spring Silkworms- -
This early classic of Golden Age Shanghai cinema echoes Visconti's classic La Terra Trema in its beautifully rendered story of a humble silk-farming family struggling to be free of debt to exploitative middlemen.
This early classic of Golden Age Shanghai cinema echoes Visconti’s classic La Terra Trema in its beautifully rendered story of a humble silk-farming family struggling to be free of debt to exploitative middlemen.
Spring Silkworms (春蚕; Chūncán) is a 1933 silent film from China. It was directed by Cheng Bugao and was adapted by Cai Chusheng and Xia Yan from the novella of the same name by Chinese author Mao Dun.
The film stars Xiao Ying, Yan Yuexian, Gong Jianong, Gao Qianping and Ai Xia and was produced by the Mingxing Film Company.
Today the film is considered one of the earliest films of the leftist movement in 1930s Shanghai.
The film tells the story of a family of poor silk farmers in Zhejiang province, who suffer hardship and deprivation when their crop of silkworm cocoons die off. The film criticizes not only the harsh market conditions that have forced the family into poverty, but the family’s own superstitions and selfishness.
Old Tong Bao is the patriarch of a silkworm-rearing family in Zhejiang. He refuses to buy foreign breeds of silkworms for his coming crop. The market conditions are harsh and despite the efforts his family put in rearing the silkworms, the ensuing cocoons are unable to fetch a price in the market. The film also features a subplot where a married woman, Lotus, is ostracized by Tong Bao’s family for being a supposed jinx.