Laborer’s Love 勞工之愛情 (1922)

The film:

Laogong zhi aiqing
Alternate title: Zhi guo yuan 擲菓緣 (A Marriage Made by Flinging Fruit)
Director: Zhang Shichuan
Screenwriter: Zheng Zhengqiu
Studio: Mingxing
Year of release: 1922
Cast: Cheng Cheh Ku (Zheng Zhegu), Yu Ying, Zheng Zhengqiu (credited as Cheng Kung [“Mr. Zheng”], T.M. Loh (Lu Tie[min?])
English subtitles translated by Christopher Rea

Laborer’s Love is the earliest-known surviving complete Chinese-made film. A carpenter-turned-fruit seller courts a doctor’s daughter, but her father tells him that he’ll only marry his daughter to the man who can bring him more patients. Watch to see how Carpenter Zheng uses the tools of his trade to get the girl!

The film contains original bilingual Chinese-English intertitles, indicating that it was made for an international market. The Chinese text has been translated only in instances where the meaning of the Chinese words and the English words is significantly different.

If you enjoy Laborer’s Love, be sure to check out Yuan Muzhi’s City Scenes (1935), the most gag-driven Chinese film of the early sound era.

Learn more

Watch the video lectures and see other related content in Module 1 of the Chinese Film Classics course.

Laborer’s Love is discussed in chapter 1 of the book Chinese Film Classics, 1922-1949.