Genre: Crime, Drama
Year Released: 1929, 2023 Kino Lorber Blu-ray
Runtime: 1h 49m
Director(s): Ewald André Dupont
Writer(s): Arnold Bennett
Cast: Anna May Wong, Gilda Gray, Jameson Thomas, Cyril Ritchard
Language: English intertitles
Where To Watch: available September 26, 2023; pre-order here www.kinolorber.com, or www.amazon.com
RAVING REVIEW: The magnetic Anna May Wong leaps from obscurity in the US and shines brighter than ever across the pond in PICCADILLY, a genuinely riveting tale. Transported to the heart of the roaring twenties, viewers are given a sneak peek into the lives, the glamour, and the unanticipated twists of the Piccadilly Club. Oh, and when Shosho (Anna May Wong) steps out of the dark corners of her dishwashing duties into the enchanting glow of the stage? Hold on to your seats because it’s an unforgettable ride!
If cinema is a landscape, every shot is an explorer’s dream, and who better to navigate this terrain than the visionary cinematographer Werner Brandes? His brilliant manipulation of light, shadow, and hue narrates a story of its own, mirroring Shosho’s intricate journey. The emotional depth and the layers he adds to each character, especially Shosho, make every scene an art piece. This journey should not be missed, along with director Ewald André Dupont’s (EA Dupont) fantastic direction and the film’s stunning restoration!
Dupont, not one to be overshadowed, crafts an evocative backdrop. He paints a vivid picture of the glamorous lives of London’s crème de la crème while not forgetting the poignant tales of the everyday Joe. His lens keenly observes the societal divides of the time, juxtaposing them against a vibrant world. Beneath the razzle-dazzle lies an understated commentary on racial biases; instead of diving deep into the murky waters of prejudice, PICCADILLY provides glimpses of it, letting Anna May Wong’s undeniable charisma address the audience.
Any issues in the film, and some minor pacing questions, ultimately are only minor hiccups in an otherwise exhilarating cinematic joyride. Dupont pivots back, keeping us engrossed with his vivid portrayal of the Jazz Age, innovative storytelling twists, and breathtaking sequences.
In the grand scheme, PICCADILLY isn’t just your run-of-the-mill period flick. It’s a magnificent canvas painted with the life of 1920s London, sprinkled with societal insights and topped off with Anna May Wong’s unparalleled artistry. This movie stands tall, a testament to its importance in British cinema history. And if there’s one thing you’d take away from the entire visual treat? It’s Wong’s transcendent portrayal of Shosho, bound to resonate in your thoughts long after the final scene fades out. So, whether you’re a casual movie-goer or someone who lives and breathes cinema, PICCADILLY promises a journey worth every second!
– Audio commentary by film historian Farran Smith Nehme
– Introduction to the 1929 sound version
– Neil Brand on the score for Piccadilly
– San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival panel: “Dangerous to Know:
– The Career and Legacy of Anna May Wong,” moderated by B. Ruby Rich
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[photo courtesy of KINO LORBER]
MY SAG-AFTRA/WGA STRIKE STATEMENT:
As an advocate for creators, actors, and writers, I firmly stand with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA in their current strike. The entertainment industry is built on these individuals’ extraordinary talents, and their contributions must be appropriately recognized and rewarded. They deserve fair compensation, sensible work hours, and respect for their creative rights. I believe in the power of unity and collective action, and I’m steadfast in my support for their fight for better working conditions and fair remuneration. Together, we can shape a more equitable future in the entertainment world.
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