Wenyi is an imported term from Japan and became a local term in China for literary discussion in the early-twentieth century. The term was later adopted by the film industry to designate films with 'literary' quality. Recent studies show that wenyi was widely used for branding films after 1935. Yet before that, evidence shows that the notion had already been appropriated by film critics, directors and scriptwriters in their conceptualization of what a good film should be. By focusing on Silver Star (Yinxing, 1926-1928), the most important film magazine for promoting film-as-art in the 1920s, and the anthology Film and Wenyi (dianyingyu wenyi, 1928), this article aims to provide a crucial account on the discursive practice of film and wenyi in the 1920s, reflecting upon the early theorization of wenyi in film. Notions like neoheroism, which was derived from Romain Rolland's thinking, and symbols of anguish, which was adapted from Kuriyagawa Hakuson via Lu Xun's translation, are employed to articulate the relationship between film and wenyi by the group of writers from Silver Star.
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