During the Cultural Revolution, only a small number of state-approved yangbanxi, model operas that adhered to revolutionary ideologies, were staged. One of them was the ballet opera The Red Detachment of Women, about a peasant girl who breaks away from an oppressive landlord and joins the Red Army. The performance, originally staged in 1964, was adapted to film and made the ballerina Xue Jinghua an instant star. The virtuosic and ecstatic dance sequences featuring revolutionary heroines carrying rifles and clenching fists in army shorts have formed some of the most lasting and iconic revolutionary imageries. This popular ballet opera, which also features music that is familiar to Chinese of all generations, is still being performed in China today.
This screening of The Red Detachment of Women is part of the film series Goddess: Chinese Women on Screen which runs through December 8, 2012.