Center Stage (《阮玲玉》）is a movie released in 1992. Directed by Stanley Kwan, starring Maggie Cheung as 1930s actress Ruan Lingyu, Tony Leung Kar-fai, Ng Kei Wah, Chin Han, Carina Lau and Cecilia Yip.
It was one of my favourite movies in the 1990s. I remember when it was shown on TV, it was in the late night and my family were all asleep. I stayed up to watch and was mesmerized by the cast’s performance. The story of Ruan Lingyu was also very intriguing and sad. She passed away at the age of 24 by suicide after incessant harassment by the tabloids. “人言可畏” was what she left behind in her note, meaning “gossip is fearsome”. The movie itself is a mix of clips from Ruan Lingyu’s old movies, Maggie Cheung and the cast acting out her story, interviews with the cast and interviews with people who either researched on Ruan Lingyu or have worked with her.
The theme song is sung by Tracy Wang. Beautiful vocals, haunting music and simple lyrics that fully expressed the emotional state of Ruan Lingyu. I compiled the 3 hours of movie into 5 minutes of clip. It was fun to do, and I didn’t put in any special effects. Enjoy.