Item description for Ruan Ling-Yu: The goddess of Shanghai by Richard J. Meyer...
Ruan Ling-yu: The Goddess of Shanghai tells the story of one of the greatest Chinese movie stars of the silent era, from her humble origins to her tragic death at the height of her career. Included with the book is a DVD of her most famous film "The Goddess."
Shanghai between the two world wars was a city of intrigue, political change, corruption, vice, social disparities, and creativity. It was here that Chinese movie-making reached its peak. Feeding off the decay of an ancient civilization, and inspired by the frenzy to build a new one, the Shanghai filmmakers captured a crucial transition in Chinese history, and established the basic tones, themes, and techniques of the Chinese film industry.
The individual whose films best reflected the turbulent times of the period was Ruan Ling-yu. Her life and work symbolized the social currents of Shanghai and the tragedy of China during its long downfall. This book provides context by describing the political and social conditions of life in Shanghai during this period. It covers Ruans production company Lianhua and her directors as well as her fellow performers, and contains photographs from Ruans most creative films. It also includes a complete filmography, a bibliography, a list of film archives that have her films, information about where to obtain film copies and pertinent websites.
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Studio: Hong Kong University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 7.5" Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Release Date May 30, 2005
Publisher Hong Kong University Press
ISBN 9622093957 ISBN13 9789622093959
Availability 0 units.
More About Richard J. Meyer
Richard J. Meyer is Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Professor of Telecommunications Emeritus at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and Distinguished Fulbright Chair in Twentieth-Century History of Communications at L'Univrsit? del Piemonte Orientale Amedeo Avongadro in Italy.
Richard J. Meyer has an academic affiliation as follows - University of New Mexico, USA.
Reviews - What do customers think about Ruan Ling-Yu: The goddess of Shanghai?
Masterly performance by Ruan Ling-yu Jun 16, 2008
Since this film is relatively little known, I'll focus on "The Goddess," finally available in this archival DVD with an excellent monograph by Richard J. Meyer on its star. This actress, Ruan Ling-yu, has been the subject of a reverential docudrama, directed by Stanley Kwan and starring Maggie Cheung (1992). While excerpts from Ruan's films are included in that movie, the impression may linger than this is one more cinema legend inflated by tragedy. Pilloried by tabloids in Shanghai, Ruan Ling-yu committed suicide in 1935, when she was only 24. Until recently, her surviving films were inaccessible in the West, and none has received more than elementary restoration. Though they date from our own "talkie" era, these movies are silent, and Ruan's inapt sobriquet, "The Chinese Garbo," may conjure an Asian edition of archaic romance. These impressions vanish, however, in the face of "The Goddess" (1934). In this film alone, Ruan confirms her position as one of the immortals of the screen. "The Goddess" portrays a young streetwalker in Shanghai, devoting her earnings and her love to her son, who in the opening scenes is still an infant. With speaking gestures, Ruan unfolds a psyche that circumstance has cloven, that yearns for integration yet also fears it, as if foreknowing the self-destruction that ensues when this reunion of divided selves is forced upon her. When she absorbs herself in her son, the nameless heroine approaches the rapture of some elusive past: a time of wonder and of dreams. When she recedes from her son - and in flashes of confusion, even when the boy is present, Ruan conveys the anguish of that retreat - she faces a present and a future embodied in her "consort," a hulking parasite addicted to gambling and to a need for this woman more profound than he would dream of conceding. The vivid performance of the actor playing this gigolo reminds us how well Ruan has been supported by her fellow players, especially by the boy cast as her son. Her director is a master of his craft, and the cinematography, reminiscent at times of films by Pabst, Lang, and Chaplin, complements the acting very well. But this is the story of a woman, and that woman has been revealed by Ruan Ling-yu with an immediacy that remains startling. In visible terms, only months before her own suicide, Ruan embraced the credo of the Chinese poet Tu Fu: "If my words aren't startling, death itself is without rest."