Street Angel analysis

Essay by salman1981 November 2010

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What sort of social critique does this Street Angel (1937) present? What does it say about issues involved in "modernization"? What symbols are portrayed in Street Angel (1937)


Every country has specific famous era in which their cinema portrays the reality of their society, the 1930's was the era in which China's cinema bent itself towards portraying society and modernization.

A lot of distinctive features developed by Chinese film over the last hundred years are the result and testimony of the particular kind of interaction linking culture with politics in the twentieth century china. As a kind of mass entertainment Chinese film has been affected by historical forces in a unique manner. To understand Chinese cinema's motifs, images and predominate narrative modes and thematic orientation requires a thorough knowledge of both the industry's development and historical changes taking place in the cinema.

This paper shall analyze the movie Street Angels (1937), taking under consideration the symbols used in the movie.

Apart from this the paper shall also highlight the fact that it is based on modernization in china and it shall also analyze how the movie is based on the social conditions of China in 1930.


Street Angels is a film about the lower depths of Shanghai. Written and directed by Yuan Muzhi in 1937 for Mingxing, it is in a dark, expressionistic style and is regarded as one of the major classics of Chinese cinema. It features the great actor Zhao Dan as a young man who makes a precarious living playing the trumpet in street processions. When the girl he loves is raped by one of her parents' clients, he finds that society offers no way for the poor to get justice. The film was heavily censored by the KMT government which...