Lai Man-Wai

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Lai (Li).
Lai Man-Wai
Lai in 1913 in Zhuangzi Tests His Wife
Chinese name 黎民偉 (traditional)
Chinese name 黎民伟 (simplified)
Ancestry Xinhui, Guangdong or Sihui, Guangdong
Born 1893
Died October 26, 1953 (aged 60)
Hong Kong

Lai Man-Wai (Chinese: 黎民偉; pinyin: Li Minwei; 1893–1953), considered the "Father of Hong Kong Cinema", was the director of the first Hong Kong film Zhuangzi Tests His Wife in 1913. In the film, Lai played the role of the wife, partly due to the reluctance of women to participate in show business at the time.


Born in Japan, of Xinhui, Guangdong origin and raised in Hong Kong, he joined Sun Yat-sen's Kuomintang party in 1911 and helped make anti-warlord movies. He was an active director during the golden years of the Shanghai movie industry from 1921 to 1928. In 1923, he founded the Minxin (China Sun) Film Company with his brother, Lai Pak-Hoi, in Hong Kong which later relocated to Shanghai. By 1930, he co-founded one of the giant studios of the 1930s, Lianhua Film Company with Law Ming-yau. In 1938, he returned to Hong Kong and retired.

He was married to Florence Lim, a Vancouver born Hong Kong actress, grandfather of Hong Kong actress Gigi Lai and the father of another Hong Kong actress Lai Suen.


His story was documented in Lai Man-wai: Father of Hong Kong Cinema by Choi Kai-kwong in 2001.

Lai Man-Wai is portrayed in Stanley Kwan's 1992 biopic of actress Ruan Lingyu, Centre Stage by Hong Kong actor, Waise Lee.

Partial filmography[edit]


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