Xia Meng

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Xia Meng
Chinese name (traditional)
Chinese name (simplified)
Birth name Yang Meng (楊濛)
Born (1933-02-16)16 February 1933
Shanghai, Republic of China
Died 3 November 2016(2016-11-03) (aged 83)
Spouse(s) Lin Baocheng (林葆誠)

Xia Meng (simplified Chinese: 夏梦; traditional Chinese: 夏夢; pinyin: Xià Mèng; 16 February 1933 – 3 November 2016), a.k.a. Hsia Moon and Miranda Yang, born Yang Meng (Chinese: 楊濛; pinyin: Yáng Méng), was a Hong Kong actress and film producer.[1] She was a key figure of Hong Kong's Left Wing film scene.

Debut on stage[edit]

Xia Meng was first exposed to drama and stage play at McTyeire School, an elite girls' school established by Methodist missionaries in Shanghai. In 1947, she moved with her family to Hong Kong, where she attended Maryknoll Convent School. In 1949, In conjunction with school's event, She was chosen to play the leading role in school's English-language production of Saint Joan.

Film career[edit]

In 1950, Yang Meng (as she was born) and her friends visited a film set of the Great Wall Movie Enterprises Ltd, and this was where she was first spotted by the crews, as well as studio manager Yuan Yang'an. Through the help of Yuan's daughter, Mao Mei (an actress and ballerina), Yang Meng accepted his invitation and joined the studio in the age of 17. Inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the new actress now renamed Xia Meng (literally "summer dream") by Yuan, which Yuan metaphorically wished her dream come true as she joined the studio in summer.

The Great Wall Crown Princess[edit]

She was given her first role as the title character in Li Pingqian's A Night-Time Wife (1951). The comedy was a hit and rocketed Hsia Moon to stardom.[2] Many other hits followed. There was the tragic demimondaine of Cao Yu's classic adaptation Sunrise, at her best as the virtuous widow of A Widow's Tears (both 1956), The scapegoat of the feudal moral value in the critically acclaimed Hong Kong classic[3] The Eternal Love (1960), the deprived bourgeoisie in HKFA Archival Gem's Romance of The Boudoir (1960),[4] and perhaps most remarkably, her gender-bending turn as a man masquerading as a woman in The Bride Hunter (1960) as well as the one of the most memorable, a massive hit during its premiere in Singapore and Hong Kong, Princess Falls in Love (1962).

Xia Meng was one of the few Hong Kong movie stars whose films were released in the People's Republic of China before the Cultural Revolution, she exuded glamour in a manner that was then no longer permitted among her mainland counterparts. The Mainland media nowadays have been frequently quoting her as the Chinese answer to Audrey Hepburn.[5]

Cultural Revolution[edit]

In the summer of 1967, she visited Guangzhou and witnessed the chaotic situation where the Cultural Revolution had just started. The dire effect was soon to be felt on Hong Kong's Studios which were influenced by Communist Party of China, and Great Wall's movies would no longer had the same cachet as before. Feeling insecure and threatened, and pregnant at the time, she excused herself from involvement in the political movement. Soon after she finished the screen performance in Oh, The Spring Is Here (1967), she resigned from studio in September, and quietly left for Canada before the film was released.

Return as movie producer[edit]

After the end of The Cultural Revolution, Xia Meng was invited by Liao Chengzhi, vice chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) of that time, to attend the 4th National Congress of China Federation of Literary and Art Circles(CFLAC) held in Beijing from 30 October—16 November 1979, which considered to be her first public appearance after her final screen performance in 1967. Under the encouragement of Liao, she decided returned to movie industry as a producer after an absence of ten years.

In 1980, she formed Bluebird Movie Enterprises Ltd, and produced the debut film Boat People (Ann Hui, 1982), a movie and landmark feature for Hong Kong New Wave, which won several awards including the best picture and best director in the second Hong Kong Film Award. After producing Young Heroes (Mou Dunfei, 1983) and Homecoming (Yim Ho, 1984), Xia Meng sold her film company to Jiang Zuyi. She had no involvement in any film production after that.

Other[edit]

Awards[edit]

Xia Meng's performance in Peerless Beauty (1953) and A Widow's Tears (1956) won her the Greatest Individual Achievement Award given by the Cultural Ministry of the People's Republic of China. In 1995, Xia Meng was honored the Chinese Film Stars Special Award, in conjunction with 90 anniversary of Chinese Cinema.

Political activities[edit]

She was also involved in political activities, being selected as a committee member of the Chinese National Cultural Alliance and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. She was president of South China Film Industry Workers union before.[when?]

Legacy[edit]

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Xia Meng has a star with hand print and autograph by the name of Miranda Yang on the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Hong Kong.

In August 2005, China honored 128 movie stars in a commemorative stamp collection marking 100 years of Chinese language cinema, Xia Meng was one of the honorees.

Print Pictorials and interviews[edit]

  • Law Kar, Hsia Moon: episodes of a summer dream (Hong Kong 1995); ISBN 962-357-773-7
  • Zhu Shunci et al., An age of idealism: Great Wall & Feng Huang days, (Hong Kong Film Archive 2001); ISBN 962-8050-14-1
  • Liu Shu, The Peerless Xia Meng, China Film Press, Beijing, 2007; ISBN 7-106-02637-9

Filmography[edit]

As producer
As actress
As scriptwriter (co-writer)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "著名演员夏梦去世享年83岁 曾是金庸梦中情人" (in Chinese). NetEase. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  2. ^ 香港电影史话, Volume 4,余慕雲
  3. ^ "HK Film Archive celebrates 10th anniversary with The Best From the Archive Collection". 7thspace.com. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "Hong Kong Film Archive showcases nine rare gems". Info.gov.hk. 19 December 2002. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "中国"赫本"夏梦绝美照——新华网江西频道". Jx.xinhuanet.com. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "Wang lao wu tian ding". Searchworks.stanford.edu. Retrieved 3 November 2016.