Photo Gallery: Anna May WongDecember 9, 2011As part of an extensive pictorial review of modern China's Republican era (1912-1949), the news service PeopleNet has a picture gallery of Anna May Wong, the first Asian actress to make a dent in Hollywood, although the virulent racism of the time prevented her from getting the opportunities for major stardom she was capable of achieving.
In Search of Li Dandan: the AviatrixDecember 9, 2011This was the motto of the old City News Bureau of Chicago, and it's too bad it wasn't said at some time by Confucius; if it had been, generations of Chinese historians might have taken it to heart, and saved many others a lot of trouble.
1930: Ruan Lingyu and Jin Yan Perform the First Movie SongDecember 9, 2011By the end of the 1920s, sound film productions from US and European companies were rising rapidly, but for technical reasons the only talkies available to Chinese film fans were those from America. However, some Chinese studios were able to utilize sound to a certain degree by accompanying their silent films with music.
Qian Siying: From ‘First Heroine‘ to Movie Clan MatriarchDecember 9, 2011When movie critics and scholars discuss the modern classic, Wong Kar Wai's "In the Mood for Love" (2000), the actors most mentioned are, understandably, its two stars, Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung.
Chen Yumei and the 1934 ‘Empress‘ VotingDecember 8, 2011Little is recorded about the origin and early years of Chen Yumei, other than that she was born in 1910 in Menghe (孟河), Jiangsu province. That there is so little early information available about a major, popular star is unusual.
Tang Wei: ‘I Still Haven't Learned to be a Star‘December 8, 2011Since Chinese film authorities lifted the two-year ban on Tang Wei from filmmaking, which actually resulted in her disappearing from movie screens for three years, the promising young actress is back.
Ruan Lingyu-Tragic GoddessDecember 8, 2011Ruan Lingyu, a silent-film actress still remembered by many, left behind 29 films and the final message, "gossip can kill," when she committed suicide in Shanghai on March 8, 1935.
The Last Days of Zhou XuanDecember 8, 2011In the 1948 movie "Secret History of the Qing Court" (清宫秘史), there is an important scene in which the Emperor Guangxu and his concubine discuss whether they should go with the Empress Dowager Ci Xi, "the Old Buddha," in fleeing the Chinese capital. For if they do not, and the foreigners come, what would they do then?
Zhang Zhiyun: A Tragic First ‘Empress‘December 8, 2011After they formed the Da Zhonghua Film Company at the beginning of 1924, Gu Kenfu, Lu Jie and Bu Wancang placed recruitment ads for actors in Shen Bao, a leading Shanghai newspaper, and borrowed an unused post office box from the paper to use as an address for receipt of applications.
Zhou Xuan: A Sad but Brilliant LegacyDecember 8, 2011F. Scott Fitzgerald famously once said that "there are no second acts in life." He was speaking of American life, but for China's top film actress of the late 1930s and 1940s, as well as its most popular singer during much of that era, there appear to have been three: Act 1 was desperate and Act 3 sad, but Act 2 was glorious.
Empress Butterfly: Hu DieDecember 8, 2011The actress who would one day be elected "Empress of Movies" by Chinese film fans was born Hu Ruihua in 1907, the elder of two daughters of the chief inspector for a national railway. Although the family was Cantonese, Ruihua was actually born in Shanghai, where her father was posted at the time.
The First Marquee Name: Wang HanlunDecember 8, 2011The actress who Chinese moviegoers knew as Wang Hanlun was born Peng Jianqing in 1903 in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. Her early life had much in common with that of Songlian, the protagonist of Zhang Yimou's 1991 movie "Raise the Red Lantern", a character played by Gong Li.
China Movie GoddessesNovember 15, 2011The film documentary shot in 1905 on the Peking opera Dingjun Mountain marked the birth of Chinese cinema. Two decades later, a group of actresses – the so-called four Dan–became the acknowledged female icons of Chinese film.