Ruan Lingyu: Reflections on an individual performance style

Mette Hjort*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Ruan Lingyu (1910-35), the greatest star of the Chinese silent filmera and arguably of Chinese cinema tout court, has prompted a number of confessional statements. In the only English-language monograph devoted to Ruan, Richard Meyer (2004: xiii) recalls his first encounter with this Chinese star at the Pordenone International Silent Film Festival in 1995: ‘it was love at first sight’. And in his foreword to Meyer’s book, Leo Ou-fan Lee reflects on this statement by remembering his own responses to Ruan’s most famous film, The Goddess (Wu Yonggang, 1934); ‘I never bothered to recall its story-line, but I was haunted again and again by a few scenes of Ruan Ling-yu’s face with all her subtle and nuanced expressions. Thus I, too, became obsessed with Ruan Ling-yu’ (Lee 2004: xiv). In the opening moments of Stanley Kwan’s innovative homage to the Lianhua star, Center Stage, aka Actress (1991), the Hong Kong director similarly reflects on the haunting nature of his first sustained encounter with her films: ‘After having seen all her six movies she struck me as outstanding and life-like. … I found in her something special’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChinese Film Stars
EditorsMary Farquhar, Yingjin Zhang
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780203854853
ISBN (Print)9780415690270, 9780415573900
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2010

Publication series

NameRoutledge Contemporary China Series

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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