San Francisco Silent Film Festival Features Song of the Fisherman and Dragnet Girl

Print Friendly

From May 29th to June 1st the San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2014 will take place at the historic Castro Theatre located at 429 Castro Street.


The festival includes 17 wonderful silent-era features including the international hit The Song of the Fisherman by Cai Chusheng and Dragnet Girl by film virtuoso Yasujiro Ozu! Celebrate the rich film history of Asian cinema. The festival will also be featuring one program of extraordinary silent shorts and rarities, and the ever-popular Amazing Tales From the Archives program.

Cai Chusheng’s The Song of the Fisherman plays on Friday, May 30 and is not only the first social-realist film in Chinese cinema history, but also the first Chinese film to win a prize in an international festival (Moscow Film Festival, 1935). Depicting the struggle of the poor in Shanghai, the film is a moving story of social injustice told with eloquence and passion.

This film played in Shanghai for a record of 84 days to an audience of nearly a million. The film’s title song (composed by Ren Guang) was also a huge contemporary hit in Shanghai, and later (in the 1970s) it became a hit in the U.S.

Best known for his gentle family comedies and dramas, Japanese master Yasuhiro Ozu also made three silent gangster films. Dragnet Girl, the last and best of them, stars future Mizoguchi muse Kinuyo Tanaka as a typist by day, and gun-toting gangster’s moll by night. As her ex-boxer lover, Joji Oka matches her tough bravado. Ozu, a fan of American films, pays stylish homage to the genre, filling the frame with Hollywood-style décor and costumes, moody lighting and noir shadows. The sets and cinematography were reportedly influenced by the work of Joseph von Sternberg. Not typical Ozu, but a surprising, delightful anomaly. Film airs Sunday, June 1.

For full program details and tickets visit at

The Song of the Fisherman

Friday, May 30

1:00 pm

Approximately 60 minutes

Director Cai Chusheng

Cast Wang Renmei, Luo Peng, Yuan Congmei, Han Langen

Musical Accompaniment Donald Sosin

Dragnet Girl

Sunday, June 1

12:00 Noon

Approximately 100 minutes

Director Yasujiro Ozu

Cast Kinuyo Tanaka, Joji Oka, Sumiko Mizukubo

Musical Accompaniment Guenter Buchwald

About the Author