Ruan Lingyu

YUEN LING-YUK

CENTER STAGE
Stanley Kwan
HK 1991, 2005
154min
V'05

In the late Eighties, Stanley Kwan took up the challenge of directing a fiction film devoted to Ruan Lingyu. While his producer was Golden Harvest then a major commercial studio in Hongkong the form chosen was quite «experimental». Kwans fragmented texture intertwines: fictional reconstructions of Ruans life; video interviews with survivors from the Golden Age of the Shanghai studios, Ruans biographer, and the cast and crew of the contemporary film; excerpts from still-extant films; reconstructions of scenes from lost films; and photographs. This «mise en abîme» allows several Ruan Lingyus to coexist, diffracting her image to the point of vertigo. Kwans original point of entry was to be an overlap between the life of the actress embodying Ruan and her model. Kwan offered the part to Maggie Cheung, which turned to be an inspired move as she eventually became the first Chinese actress to win a Silver Bear at the 1992 Berlin Film Festival. Center Stage became, somewhat, a documentary about the coming-of-age of Maggie Cheung as an actress, searching beyond her, to solve the mystery of Ruans mysterious acting ability and charisma. Throughout the film, Cheung goes to and fro between resisting identification with Ruan, refusing to be turned into an icon and yielding to her fascination for the dead star. (Bérénice Reynaud)

Credits
  • Maggie Cheung - Ruan Lingyu
  • Tony Leung - Tsai Chu-sheng
  • Chin Hang - Tang Chi-san
  • Carina Lau - Li Li-li
  • Lawrence Ng - Chang Ta-min
  • Tai An-Ping Chiu (als Peggy Chiu)
  • Zhang Xin
  • Poon Hang Seng
  • Cheung Yiu Chung
  • Cheung Kar Fei
  • Joseph Chiang
  • Huang Jin Chen
  • Lai Pan
  • Lai Pan
Golden Harvest

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