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Centre Stage

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Synopsis: This is the true story of Yuan Ling-yu, the first movie star of the 1930's. Hailing from an obscure background, she became the prima donna of the Chinese screen. Students worshipped her as a cult symbol. Men looked at her with dreamy eyes and women looked at her sideways and full of hate. Yes, for nine years since her movie at 16, Yuan Ling-yu managed to star in 29 movies. Her roles were usually pathetic ones : girl student, rustic maid, factory hand, prostitute, socialite and authoress. And her endings were invariably tragic : incarceration in a prison, mental breakdown, forced marriages, starvation, illness and even suicide......


Product Details

  • Actors: Man Yuk Maggie Cheung, Ka Fai Tony Leung
  • Directors: Kam Pang Stanley Kwan
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: Chinese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Kam & Ronson Enterprises Co., Ltd.
  • Run Time: 154 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00B0S04VQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,869 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Wu Yuan on December 25, 2002
Format: DVD
Center Stage re-enacts the short life of Ruan Lingyu, who was arguably the cinematic queen in the 20's to 30's. The half-documentary film, with an unrivaled performance by Maggie Cheung, stirred the memory of the sensational silent film actress, whose films are rarely watched by the current generation of audience.
Ruan was a modern woman, yet still suffering from the weakness of her character, which eventually led to her suicide under the haunting of the malicious press. The man she loved betrayed her in distrust; her previous lover sold gossips to the press. She finally broke down in her no-exit fighting with "the mighty fear of the words" (from Ruan's will). Stanley Kwan and Maggie Cheung combined exquisitely in portraying the conflict between the stifling society and the rebellious yet weak character.
The movie chose to switch alternatively between the past and the present. With some footages of Ruan's films and interviews with the cast and relevant people in the present, it provides a contrast of the ways that we see things in different times, inspiring people to linger and rethink of their lives. A superb movie, in which Maggie Cheung and Ruan Lingyu, the two divas of their own days, meet across the time, flawlessly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gan S Libisono on January 29, 2002
Format: DVD
I like the movie much better because of Maggie Cheung's performance. It goes back forth among old footages, interviews with the actors and the movie itself. It's sort of a documentary film played by real actors. And again, it's hard not to like the movie especially with Maggie Cheung flawless performance. Two scenes that just convince me how great she is: First was when she was trying to re-create the scene from an old movie where she was supposed to die in bed. The cameraman continued to shoot her even when the director already said "cut." What we are allowed to see was how affected Maggie was with the whole scene -- she was still crying when her scene was supposed to be over.
Another one was when she came back from meeting her ex-lover, who was trying to blackmail her. She came out of the house to a mob of people who were ready to scold her because of the rumor that was spread by her ex-lover. One of the people made a cruel remark about her mother and she turned around and looked at that person with so much pain -- you would feel that the remark was made to you.
Maggie Cheung usually shines even more when she doesn't say a word. Her best performances are always the ones where she conveys her feelings through her expressions.
Highly recommended, if only to see one the greatest performance in a movie! I believe she won a best actress award in Berlin festival. Wonder when American audiences would finally find her.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wing Lee on June 1, 2005
Format: DVD
I remember watching this film at the cinema more than ten years ago, and I was sobbing by the end of the film, because I was so moved by the life of Yun Ling Yuk, and the mesmerizing performance from Maggie(Cheung Man Yuk). This is no doubt Maggie's most memorable role of her career, despite the fact that she's better known for other films such as In The Mood For Love and Hero. This is the only film that allowed her to deliver "her all" as far as showing her range, and won her the Berlin Best Actress and numerous other awards in Asia! It's the ultimate art house biopic event that is absolutely inspirational, visually stunning, and emotionally impacting!

This biopic chronicles the life and suicide of China's first legendary silent film diva in the 1930's. Yun Link Yuk had starred in 29 films since the age of 16, and committed suicide at the age of 25 on international women's day(3-8-1935). She was a provocative public figure, because she played daring roles in films, and her forbidden love affair with a still married rich man gave her bad reputation. She broke the rules of society and was on a league of her own, which ultimately made her a victim of condemnation from the public and media. Even though she was the most popular star of her time, her life had become unbearable as as result of the torment she had to endured. She decided to leave her old mother and adopted daughter behind when she couldn't take it anymore, and overdosed on pills.

Carina Lau played Lily Lai, a rising star who worked with Yuk in a film about the Japanese intrusion, and they played mother and daughter. Carina nailed the reenactment of a scene from the original's film's footage perfectly. In the beginning, there was a few interviews on the now elderly Lily, Carina, and Maggie.
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By A. Balest on September 8, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A masterpiece of Biopic style narratives. It includes a wonderful performance by Maggie Cheung. Actually, she looks masterfully beautiful!
Check it.
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1 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A. Gyurisin on September 25, 2004
Format: DVD
This film took me two weeks to watch. I had begun this film , but found myself so bored with the story that it couldn`t keep my interest. In fact, last night when I finally finished the film, I had to keep myself awake by pulling at my hairs on my head to keep me from dozing during this documentary.

I call it a documentary, but it is actually a representation of her life as an actress played by modern actresses. It is similar to the film JFK with several actors playing the part of actual people with clips of the event sewn throughout the film. This was quite possibly the dullest film ever made. I am surprised that it won any awards, much less sweeping the Hong Kong Film Festival. The characters were one-dimensional. They had no spirit, no soul, no care only to walk around in period piece costumes. Everyone in this movie is exceedingly composed - they speak carefully, and walk perpetually as if on eggshells. No one really comes alive until a scene at a dance hall near the end.

But despite all the sugary politeness, Cheung successfully conveys a woman who is being slowly destroyed by her oppressive environment. There are a couple scenes in which she completely loses it, and it's very affecting to watch, but not worth two hours of my time. I had trouble understanding this film. There was a rumor that when it was released at the film festival in 1992, it was accidentally shown out of order, yet it still won the praise of critics. That doesn't make any sense to me. How can a film be out of sequence, yet still being considered the best out there? There was times that I felt I was watching a PBS special, but a very poorly done special.

If a person from the streets were to come up to me and ask me what my favorite part of this film to me would be, I would have no answer.
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