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Oct 14: Film and Talk – Jin Yan and Ruan Ling-Yu

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the births of Shanghai film stars Ruan Ling-Yu (阮玲玉) and Jin Yan (金焰), Dr. Richard J. Meyer will present excerpts from a restored film The Peach Girl (桃花泣血記), which stars them both, on October 14th at 4:30pm.

Dr. Meyer teaches film history at Seattle University and Arizona State University and has also taught at the JMSC.

The Peach Girl was the third in a series of films produced by the legendary Lianhua film company in 1931.

Jin Yan was considered to be the “Emperor of Film” and dominated the golden age of Chinese silent movies. He achieved stardom in the 1930s, when women literally threw themselves at his feet. His movie roles with Ruan Ling-yu, known as “the Goddess”, spurred public demand to see more of them on screen together. It was Jin who made Ruan aware of film’s awesome power to portray social problems while also evading the censors by using melodramatic soap opera formats.

In the film, Ruan plays Lingu, a peasant girl, who falls in love with the landlord’s son De’en, played by Jin, who fathers her child. He promises marriage but is forbidden by his mother to see her because of class differences. De’en finally comes to Lingu’s side as she lies dying. The landowner relents after her death and allows her son to raise the child.

Meyer has written two books about the stars:  Ruan Ling Yu: The Goddess of Shanghai (神女) and Jin Yan: The Rudolph Valentino of Shanghai, both of which are published by Hong Kong University Press.  Meyer will talk about the books and be available to sign them.

Jin Yan: The Rudolph Valentino of Shanghai (with DVD of The Peach Girl) can be ordered here.

The event is organized by the JMSC’s Project for Public Culture which is supported by the Azalea (1972) Endowment Fund.

Speaker: Dr. Richard J. Meyer
Date: Thursday 14 October 2010
Time: 4:30pm to 6pm
Venue: T4, Meng Wah Complex, HKU
All are welcome, no registration required.