Richard Peña Selects: Two Stage Sisters
Campus Arts Event
Richard Peña Selects: Two Stage Sisters
Watch a screening of Two Stage Sisters—introduced by Professor Richard Peña of Columbia University School of the Arts—as a part of the Richard Peña Selects festival.
Lenfest Center for the Arts - The Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room
December 03, 2023 | 6:30 pm
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Festival Details

On the eve of his retirement, Professor Richard Peña has selected six films of particular importance to him and his career, ranging from classic Hollywood noir to one of the last Chinese films made before the Cultural Revolution to screen in this three day festival.

Film Details

Two Stage Sisters

1964 / 114 mins. / color

Dir. Xie Jin

Scr. Lin Gu, Xu Jin, Xie Jin

Cine. Zhou Daming, Chen Zhenxiang

Cast: Cao Yindi, Feng Qi, Xie Fang


The Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room
Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 West 129th Street
New York, NY 10027

About The Event

One of the last films made in Shanghai before Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Two Stage Sisters follows the lives of two female opera performers, one of whom succumbs to bourgeois decadence as the mistress of a Shanghai theater manager, while the other is radicalized in the May Fourth Movement. The director, Xie Jin, was at the time one of the most celebrated of China’s Third Generation filmmakers, with six of his films voted Best Picture at China’s Hundred Flowers Awards (equivalent to the Oscars). Yet, despite the director’s standing, Two Stage Sisters came under fire for its sympathetic portrayal of the “bad” sister. (Madame Mao herself described the film as a “poisonous weed.”) The film would be suppressed for some fifteen years before its rediscovery in 1979, whereupon it became a major influence on Fifth Generation works like Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine (1992).

For more information, please visit the event website.

Image: Film still from Two Stage Sisters