Center Stage (1991 film)

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Center Stage
Directed byStanley Kwan
Written byPeggy Chiao
Produced byWillie Chan
Tsui Siu-Ming
StarringMaggie Cheung
Tony Leung Ka-Fai
Carina Lau
CinematographyPoon Hang-Sang
Golden Way Films Ltd.
Distributed byGolden Harvest
Media Asia Group
Release dates
  • 29 November 1991 (1991-11-29) (Taiwan)
  • 20 February 1992 (1992-02-20) (Hong Kong)
Running time
146 minutes
154 minutes (Extended version)
126 minutes (Edited version)
CountryHong Kong

Center Stage (Chinese: 阮玲玉; pinyin: Ruǎn Língyù; Jyutping: jyun5 ling4 juk6; Cantonese Yale: yun5 ling4 yuk6), also known as Actress and Yuen Ling-yuk,[1] is a 1991 Hong Kong film, directed by Stanley Kwan.

Maggie Cheung won Best Actress award at Berlin International Film Festival in 1992 for her delicate portraiture of silent film star Ruan Lingyu.


The film is based on a true story: the tragic life of China's first prima donna of the silver screen, Ruan Lingyu. This movie chronicles her rise to fame as a movie actress in Shanghai during the 1930s. Nicknamed the "Chinese Garbo," Ruan Lingyu began her acting career when she was 16 years old and committed suicide at age 24.

The film alternates between present scenes (production talks between director Kwan, Cheung, and co-star Carina Lau, interviews of witnesses who knew Ruan), re-creation scenes with Cheung (as Ruan, acting inside this movie), and extracts from Ruan's original films including her final two films The Goddess and New Women.


Two actors are the sons of their characters: Sun Dongguang is the son of director Sun Yu, and Zheng Dali is the son of actor Zheng Junli.


The theme song "Zangxin" (葬心; "Burying the Heart") was composed by Taiwanese singer-songwriter Johnny Chen and recorded by Taiwanese singer Tracy Huang. It won Best Original Film Song at the 12th Hong Kong Film Awards.

The film also contains a scene in which Lianhua Film Company actors sang the "Dalu Ge" (大路歌; "The Big Road Song") composed by Nie Er, which would become the theme song for Sun Yu's 1934 anti-Japanese film The Big Road.




Prominent American film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum picked the film as his favorite of the 1990s. [4] [5]


  1. ^ "Yuen Ling-yuk" is the Cantonese transcription of "Ruan Lingyu".
  2. ^ "Golden Horse Awards 1991". Archived from the original on 22 December 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Berlinale: 1992 Prize Winners". Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  4. ^ Center Stage at HKMDB
  5. ^ Center Stage at

External links[edit]