Private Project

New Woman 新女性

New Woman is a meditative journey that investigates the look of the “New Woman” in Chinese silent screen. Through using archival film footage with intertitles also derived from the Chinese silent films, the film explores patriarchal perspectives in the portrayal of women in Chinese silent cinema, and deconstructs their appearances in order to reveal the impressive talent and outlook of the “New Woman”, which have been largely ignored and forgotten. The film features four thematic sections, Virtue, Modeng Woman, Unbound Feet, and New Woman. The footage of each section has been re-worked differently by using relevant hand processing and manipulation techniques, including toning, reticulation, solarization, contact printing, and coffee processing.

  • Rita Tse
  • Rita Tse
  • Rita Tse
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    26 minutes 16 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 30, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
  • Language:
    Chinese, English
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 20th Annual Antimatter Media Art Festival 2017
    October 20, 2017
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival 2018
    United Kingdom
    May 4, 2018
    European Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Seoul International New Media Festival 2018 - Glocal Propose
    Korea, Republic of
    August 19, 2018
    Asian Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Analogica 8
    November 16, 2018
    Italian Premiere
    Official Selection
  • ULTRAcinema 2018
    November 21, 2018
    Mexican Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Fracto Film Encounter 2019
    May 25, 2019
    German Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Echo Park Film Center
    Los Angeles
    United States
    May 26, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Artists' Television Access
    San Francisco
    United States
    July 19, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Seoul International New Media Festival 2019 - Glocal Panorama
    Korea, Republic of
    August 16, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Family Film Project 2019
    October 14, 2019
    Portuguese Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Archivio Audiovisivo del Movimento Operaio e Democratico
    October 23, 2019
    Official Selection
  • International Screening of Experimental Films and Videopoems AT THE FRINGE
    October 10, 2020
    Swedish Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Rita Tse

Rita Tse, born and raised in Hong Kong, began her career in graphic design. She then earned a BFA in Film with a minor in Art & Culture Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Her graduation film, "EastBound" (2004), was selected for a number of film festivals and was given the Norman McLaren Award offered by the National Film Board of Canada. After having worked in different positions for the Hong Kong International Film Festival for a few years, she recently completed her MFA in Film Production at York University in Toronto.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I have always been interested in silent film, especially Chinese silent film. The genre has given me glimpses of women's roles, social values and cultural influences of that time. During the Chinese silent film era (1896-1936), women were often presented as either a victim or a sexual object. The female characters in the films were usually naive maidens, abandoned wives, dancing girls, prostitutes or widows exploited by the patriarchal order of society although the directors, who were all male, claimed that by showing the stories of the Chinese women to the public, they were showing their sympathy for them, giving a voice to them and saving them from the unbearable situations. There were marketing concerns as well. The films served to sexually objectify women as a passive and negative model. The women’s appearances described from the male perspective in the Chinese silent cinema were generally accepted by society. The intelligence and the acting abilities of these new women have been overlooked since the silent era.
In the silent cinema, the acting without spoken dialogue is challenging and impressive. The facial expressions, gestures and body language of these new women were remarkable and became their only voices on screen. Their professional performances were a significant contribution to the Chinese silent film era.
Having inspired by different found footage films, such as Matthias Müller’s "Home Stories" (1990) and Bill Morrison’s "Decasia: The State of Decay" (2002), I decided to use the archival silent film footage, derived from twenty-one Chinese silent films, and manipulate the footage with hand processing skills and artisanal practices for this film. Beginning with an original silent scene taken from a film also called "New Woman" (1935), the film examines the patriarchal view of Chinese women’s roles so as to disclose the significant and understudied image of the New Woman of the Chinese silent cinema.