Two Stage Sisters | Chicago Reader

Two Stage Sisters

This fascinating Chinese film was banned shortly after its release in 1964, apparently for painting too gentle a portrait of a reactionary woman. Set in the 1930s, it follows two actresses along their divergent paths—one leaves the stage to marry a wealthy producer, the other becomes politically committed and works to change the content of the traditional operas. Xie Jin directed, in a style of such perfect, classical limpidity that the political themes merge seamlessly with the drama. The nonpsychological approach to the characters recalls the best tradition of Hollywood melodrama; emotions are sounded with a bell-like clarity, and the plot moves with swift grace from one crystalline climax to the next.

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