This film is part of Free
A Visit to Canton
A lively film showing the bustle of street and river traffic in Zhongshan, birthplace of China’s first president and founding father of the Republic.
Amateur film 1936 13 mins Silent
A spectacular array of junks - fishing boats, floating shop-fronts and trading vessels - opens this beautiful amateur film. After the Opium War of 1840, the mouth of the Pearl River became a hub of commercial activity and a major gateway to the fertile south. The West influenced fashion and architecture in coastal towns like Zhongshan, which gained significance as the birthplace of revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen.
China’s defeat in the Opium War led to the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, forcing her to cede Hong Kong to the British and open up Guangzhou (then known as Canton) to foreign trade. A brisk commercial centre grew out of the Pearl River and its surrounding towns, including Zhongshan, lying on the west of the river mouth directly opposite Hong Kong and south of Guangzhou. Once known as Xiangshan, it was renamed after Sun Yat-sen (Sun Zhongshan) when he died in 1925. The memorial hall seen at the end of the film was built to honour him and his revolution, which brought about the collapse of China’s dynastic system.
Somewhere in China
Travelogue 1930 1 mins Silent Location: Chongqing
Life among the limpet-like buildings clinging to the steep banks of the Yangtze in southwest China.
Amateur film 1935 42 mins Silent
Mongolian men show off their prowess in wrestling, archery and horse racing, known as the “three manly games”.
Travelogue 1908 7 mins
Intimate vignettes of crafters, beggars and labourers in the workshops, on the streets and eating in the outdoor kitchens of imperial China.
Documentary 1948 37 mins Silent
This alluring travelogue follows a missionary on his colourful journey into the ethnically diverse mountains of Yunnan, south west China.
Rice Cultivation in the Si-kiang Delta, South China Rice Cultivation in the Si-kiang Delta, South China
Documentary 1937 2 mins Silent
An exceptionally detailed look at the process of rice cultivation, from planting to harvesting to pounding, in the Xi Jiang Delta, Guangdong Province.
Travelogue 1925 2 mins Silent Location: Hangzhou
Enjoy a cruise along the ancient canals of Zhejiang Province in eastern China with this gorgeous stencil-coloured travelogue
Trip to Guandong aboard the Lion steamer with friends Trip to Guandong aboard the Lion steamer with friends
Amateur film 1929 4 mins Silent Location: Guangzhou
We’re all aboard the steamer Lion, cruising towards the bustling city of Guanzhou. We also see Chinese workers in traditional headgear toiling in the scorching countryside.
Travelogue 1933 2 mins Silent Location: Guangzhou
A beautifully photographed trip back to the Shanghai of the 1930s, with views of the Bund's busy harbourside.
Amateur film 1922 2 mins Silent Location: Bund
Four exquisite panoramic views of the Bund in Shanghai show life on the Huangpu River.
Documentary 1938 9 mins Location: Guangzhou
Harrowing footage of death and destruction in the aftermath of sustained Japanese bombing of the southern Chinese city.
Travelogue 1936 58 mins Silent Location: Guangzhou
An epic amateur travelogue of eastern China on the cusp of Japanese invasion, filmed by British writer Lady Dorothea Hosie.
1926 40 mins Silent
Compelling travel feature edited from footage of the 1925-26 Worsley Algarsson Arctic expedition.
Inside Film 2021 41 mins
In this illustrated discussion, BFI programmer-at-large Geoff Andrew and Catherine Wheatley, the author of two books on Michael Haneke’s work, examine what makes him such a distinctive, important and often controversial cinematic artist.
Inside Film 2021 41 mins
Film critic Carmen Gray and film writer Ela Bittencourt discuss three films by trailblazing Czech filmmaker Věra Chytilová.
Inside Film 2021 40 mins
In this discussion, BFI programmer-at-large Geoff Andrew and Sue Harris, Professor of Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London, will focus on three titles to look at what made Malle such a rewarding filmmaker.
Inside Film 2021 38 mins
BFI National Archive curator Will Massa and film critic Beatrice Loayza explore the work of contemporary British filmmaker Joanna Hogg.
Inside Film 2021 47 mins
Writer and activist So Mayer joins filmmaker and critic Alexandra Hidalgo to discuss the work of acclaimed French director and artist Agnès Varda.