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Ruan Lingyu

Ruan Lingyu was one of the last of the silent divas, still appearing in silent films as late as 1935. She was a huge star of the Shanghai cinema, and was compared to both Garbo and Gish for her suffering heroines. Her life took a similar turn, and her suicide in 1935 at the age of 24, precipitated by a newspaper campaign, shocked the city. Thousands crowded the streets of Shanghai for her funeral, and three women committed suicide in response. She was the subject of the film Stanley Kwan's 1991 film Centre Stage (Ruan Ling-yu, or The Actress), starring Maggie Cheung.

On the Web

The Chinese Movie Database filmography

The (incomplete) Internet Movie Database filmography

Page on Ruan from Tales of Old Shanghai

Page on Ruan from G-Stage.com (partly in Chinese)

"Film stars light the way for future women," article from Shanghai star

Another nice Ruan page--Click on the English link at the bottom

Silent Films Available on Video

The following films have apparently been released on VCD in Hong Kong. I do not know the Chinese titles for all of them

Tai hua qi ji (Peach Blossom Weeps Tears of Blood, aka Peach Girl) (1931)
Currently available from The San Francisco Silent Film Festival (DVD), and Yesasia.com
A Sprig of Plum (1931)
Currently available fromYesasia.com
Shen nu (The Goddess) (1934)
Currently available from The San Francisco Silent Film Festival (DVD), and Yesasia.com
Xin nu xing (New Woman) (1935)
Currently available fromYesasia.com
National Customs (1935)
Currently available fromYesasia.com

Further Reading

Meyer, Richard J. Ruan Ling-yu: The Goddess of Shanghai. Hong Kong University Press, distributed in the US by The San Francisco Silent Film Society, 2005

Cui, Shuqin. Stanley Kwan's Center Stage: The (Im)possible Engagement between Feminism and Postmodernism. in Cinema Journal, v. 39, Summer 2000. (also published in Cui, Shuqin. Women Through the Lens: Gender & Nation in a Century of Chinese Cinema. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, c2003. )

Unsung Divas

©2001, by Greta de Groat. All Rights Reserved

Last revised August 11, 2008