Actress, The (aka Center Stage): Biopic of Ruan Ling-Yu, China’s First Movie Star, Played by Maggie Cheung

Lovers of melodramas should enjoy “The Actress,” also known as “Center Stage,” a portrait of Ruan Ling-Yu, China’s first movie star who was compared to Garbo.

The luminous Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung, who deservedly won the best actress award at the 1992 Berlin festival, is cast as the silent movie star who committed suicide at the age of twenty-five during a scandal over her personal life.

Successfully blending documentary footage and interviews, this biopicture captures Ling-Yu’s great artistry and the importance of silent movies in China, where talkies were introduced as late as l935.