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International superstar Maggie Cheung (In the Mood for Love) embodies tragic screen siren Ruan Lingyu, known as the ‘Greta Garbo of China,’ in this unconventional biopic by Hong Kong New Wave master Stanley Kwan. Praised for her moving and emotive onscreen presence, Ruan’s private life, which was frequent fodder for the vicious Shanghai tabloids, began to mirror the melodramas which brought her fame, culminating in her suicide at age 24. Kwan and Cheung paint a kaleidoscopic yet intimate portrait of the ill-fated actress, deftly blending lush period drama, archival footage, and metatextual documentary sequences of Cheung reflecting on Ruan’s legacy. The result is, much like the films of Ruan Lingyu themselves, “tender, vivid and almost overwhelmingly moving” (Time Out).


"One of the indisputably great Chinese works of the past decade and Kwan's most thrilling, concentrated and dazzling achievement." – Chicago Tribune


"A masterpiece by Stanley Kwan, the greatest Hong Kong film I’ve seen." – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

  • Year
    1991
  • Runtime
    154 minutes
  • Language
    Chinese, English
  • Country
    Hong Kong
  • Premiere
    New Restoration!
  • Director
    Stanley Kwan
  • Cast
    Maggie Cheung