Peach Blossom Weeps Tears of Blood, or The Peach Girl as it is more commonly translated, is a rarely screened classic from the Lianhua Film Company, one of the most successful studios in 1930s Shanghai. Steeped in traditional Chinese imagery, The Peach Girl is the tragic tale of an innocent country girl who is corrupted by the love of a rich landowner’s son. Naturalistic lighting and delicate camerawork are skillfully employed to tell a uniquely Chinese story in which class and gender ultimately determine destiny.
The lovers are played by two stars of the early Shanghai studio system: Jin Yan, considered the Valentino of his time, and Ruan Lingyu, often referred to as the Asian Garbo. Appearing in 29 films in just seven years, Ruan Lingyu received critical acclaim for her moving portrayals of prostitutes and underclass women, and developed such widespread popularity that she came to symbolize “the suffering of China.” The fame and adulation she received proved to be her downfall – in 1935 she took her life at the age of 25. —San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2000