30

SUNDAY

Itself an example of the racial anxiety it addressed, Piccadilly dared in 1929 to depict romance between an Englishman and Chinese woman. This predictably plotted but thematically provocative silent film’s most striking sequence occurs in a working-class pub, where a black man is ejected for dancing with a white woman while posh Piccadilly Club owner Valentine Wilmot and his new star, dishwasher-turned-dancer Shosho, observe apprehensively. Wilmot and Shosho become lovers, but their kiss was excised by Britain’s censors, and the smooch hasn’t been restored in the British Film Institute’s 2003 refurbishment of the movie, whose last-reel plot twists don’t exactly sidestep ethnic stereotyping. Set entirely in London, the film was made by German director E.A. Dupont and starred Chinese-American Anna May Wong and Polish-American Gilda Gray (as Shosho’s rival). Don’t miss the nifty opening credits when the film screens at 2 p.m. (see Showtimes for other dates) at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $8.50. (301) 495-6700. (Mark Jenkins)

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