Center Stage (Ruan Lingyu) (1991)

Director: Stanley Kwan Cinematographer: Poon Hang-Sang
 Center Stage (1991) on IMDb

Kwan’s landmark biopic is based on the tragic life of China’s first prima donna of the silver screen, Ruan Lingyu (Maggie Cheung), and chronicles her rise to fame as a movie actress in Shanghai during the 1930s. Nicknamed the “Chinese Garbo,” she began her acting career when she was 16 years old, but while riding high in the industry the press got hold of a scandalous affair. Their attack on her personal life led her to commit suicide aged just 24. Coming from one of the brightest stars of the Hong Kong New Wave, the film brought leading lady, Maggie Cheung international acclaim for her strong performance, and is notable as an absorbing reflection on mythmaking and the price of stardom.

Stanley Kwan’s Center Stage (The New Hong Kong Cinema series Book 12) Kindle




  • Maggie Cheung as Ruan Lingyu
  • Chin Han as Tang Jishan
  • Lawrence Ng as Zhang Damin
  • Tony Leung Ka-fai as Cai Chusheng
  • Carina Lau as Li Lili
  • Cecilia Yip as Lim Cho Cho
  • Waise Lee as Lai Man-Wai
  • Paul Chang Chung as Luo Mingyou
  • Hsiao Hsiang as He Aying (Ruan’s mother)
  • Maryanna Yip as Lai Cheuk-Cheuk
  • Yumiko Cheng as Child actress
  • Fu Chong as Nie Er
  • Xue Guoping as Jin Yan
  • Sun Dongguang as Sun Yu
  • Xiao Rongsheng as Wu Yonggang
  • Zheng Dali as Zheng Junli
  • Zhou Jie as Liu Qiong
  • Huang Daliang as Wu Chengyu
  • Claude Monges as Mr. Skinner
  • Carrie Lanese as Mrs. Skinner

Directed by Stanley Kwan
Produced by Willie Chan, Tsui Siu-Ming
Screenplay by Peggy Chiao
Cinematography Poon Hang-Sang
Running time 146 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese, Mandarin, Shanghainese, English



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