Shanhu dao shang de shi guang (Death Ray on Coral Island). 1980. China. Directed by Hongmei Zhang. Based on the story by Tong Enzhang. With Nong Li, Zhiao Ling, Junqin Ma. Digital projection. In Mandarin; English subtitles. 89 min.
Said to be the first science-fiction film produced in China (and perhaps having its North American theatrical premiere in Future Imperfect?), Death Ray on Coral Island spares no bile, camp, or latent envy in portraying America as the cunning archenemy that will stop at nothing—industrial espionage, assassinations, even ballroom dancing—to steal China’s futuristic weaponry. The film occupies a pivotal moment in China’s modern history, representing a legacy of the Great Cultural Revolution and a harbinger of the nation’s ascension on the global economic stage. Courtesy of the China Film Archive and Shanghai Film Group.