Ruan Lingyu

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Ruan Lingyu (阮玲玉1910-1935)

Ruan Lingyu 阮玲玉

Career

Born in 1910, Ruan Lingyu was one of the most prominent Chinese film stars of the 1930s.

In 1926 Ruan signed up for the then-prominent Mingxing Film Studio. Her first screen appearance in 1927 was in the film "Husband and Wife in Name." In 1928, she signed with the Da Zhonghua Baihe Company where she made six films. In 1930 Ruan signed for the Lianhua Studio and became one of Lianhua's major film actresses. One of her most memorable works was "Love and Duty" in 1931. Following that breakthrough role, Ruan gained popularity owing to a string of lead roles. Starting with "Three Modern Women" in 1932, Ruan cooperated with a group of talented leftist Chinese directors. In 1933's "Little Toys," Ruan played a long-suffering toy-maker. The same year, Ruan was voted as the second runner-up for China's "movie queen" in a poll held by the Star Daily. In "The Goddess" (1934), Ruan sympathetically portrayed a prostitute struggling to bring up her son. Later that year in "New Women" she played an educated Shanghai woman forced to death by an unfeeling society. Her final film "National Customs" was released shortly after her death in 1925.

In spite of her lack of a formal education, Ruan was diligent and scrupulous in every detail of her acting.

Life

Ruan Lingyu was born in Shanghai to a working-class family. Her father, a worker in an oil refinery, died when she was young, and her mother brought her up while working as a housemaid. Contrast to her success on the screen, Ruan's personal life was rather tragic. At the age of 16, prior to starting her film career, she fell in love with Zhang Damin, the young master of the house her mother worked in. But in a class-divided society they could not marry. Their relationship deteriorated when she became a successful actress. She later left Zhang and lived with businessman Tang Jishan. Zhang created a scandal when he sued Tang for damages in the 1930s, causing Ruan to be hounded by the tabloid press. Under severe pressure, Ruan poisoned herself with an overdose of barbiturates in Shanghai in 1935, at age of 25. Her funeral procession was reportedly three miles long.

The Hong Kong film "Center Stage" in 1992 directed by Stanley Kwan is based on the tragic life of Ruan Lingyu. This movie chronicles her rise to fame as a movie actress in Shanghai during the 1930s. Actress Maggie Cheung portrayed Ruan in the film.

Works

The Couple in Name (挂名夫妻, 1927)

Yang Xiao Zhen (杨小真, 1927)

The Tablet of Blood and Tears (血泪碑, 1927)

The Luoyang Bridge (蔡状元建造洛阳桥, 1928)

The White Cloud Pagoda (白云塔, 1928) Pearl Crown (珍珠冠, 1929)

Passion Treasures (情欲宝鉴, 1929)

A Survival of Disaster (劫后孤鸿, 1929)

A Hit to the Nine-Dragon Mountain (大破九龙山, 1929)

Burning of the Nine-Dragon Mountain (火烧九龙山, 1929)

Flower Screen (银幕之花, 1929)

Reminiscence of Peking (故都春梦, 1930)

Suicide Contract (自杀合同, 1930)

Wild Flowers (野草闲花, 1930)

Love and Duty (恋爱与义务, 1931)

A Spray of Plum Blossoms (一剪梅, 1931)

Peach Blossom Weeps Tears of Blood (桃花泣血记, 1931)

Yu Tang Chun (玉堂春, 1931)

Another Dream of the Capital (续故都春梦, 1932)

Three Modern Women (三个摩登女性, 1933)

Night in the City (城市之夜, 1933) Little Toys (小玩意, 1933)

Life (人生, 1934)

Coming Home (归来, 1934)

Goodbye, Shanghai (再会吧,上海, 1934)

A Sea of Fragrant Snow (香雪海, 1934)

The Goddess (神女, 1934)

New Women (新女性, 1934)

National Customs (国风, 1935)