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Rent Around China with a Movie Camera (2015)

4.0 of 5 from 50 ratings
68 minutes
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Take a trip back to China in the first half of the twentieth century with this presentation of extraordinary, rare and beautiful travelogues, newsreels and home movies. These films - all from the collection of the BFI National Archive - were made by a wealth of British and French filmmakers, from professionals to intrepid tourists, colonial-era expatriates and Christian missionaries. Exploring 50 years of Chinese history across a diverse range of footage, the collection includes what might be the oldest surviving film to be shot in China and which had remained unseen for 115 years.
See Shanghai's bustling, cosmopolitan Nanjing Road in 1900, the Great World Amusement Park in 1929 and a day at the Shanghai races in 1937. Wander the streets around the Qianmen, Beijing, in 1910. Cruise Hangzhou's picturesque canals in 1925. Visit China's great cities including Hong Kong, Chongqing and Guangzhou and visit remote villages in Hunan and Yunnan provinces.
BFI Video
British Films, Classics, Documentary, Special Interest
Release Date:
Run Time:
68 minutes
  • Modern China (1910, 8 mins): extraordinary views of life and landscape in Beijing filmed during the last years of China's Qing dynasty
  • Homework and Street Scenes in China (1907, 7 mins): intimate vignettes of artisans, vagrants and labourers on the streets of the late Qing dynasty of China

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