Saturday, February 9, 2013

UCLA Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program Prsents...


For those who follow my Chinese blog and weibo, they know very well  one of the crazy enthusiast for Hollywood/ International classic movies from 1920s-1950s. However, besides DVD and youtube, I have never had a chance to watch any of my favorites on silver screen, the only exception that I have was The Kuala Lumpur EU Film Festival, and by far I only able to catched up three films: Jean-Luc Godard Breathless (1960: À bout de souffle), David Lean's Great Expectations 1946 and Frank Lloyd's Oliver Twist, 1922.

Though geographical concern forbid me to have more of chances like such, but I constantly monitoring all the classic film festival happening around the world, and I'm glad to find out that UCLA has started the  Film & Television Archive and the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program, and planning a series of exciting programs:

The ongoing  screenings on are as follow:

Call Her Savage: Clara Bow Hits the Screen

Silent/Sync/Sound: Multiple Versions from the Transition Era


Hopefully one day I would be able to catch up one of the program live at UCLA!





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Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year 2013 and sincere words of gratitude...



Goodbye Dragon, welcome water snake!

2012 is my dream-comes-true year, while 2013 will be my busiest year of my three decades life by far.

Ever since I disocovered my late uncle's collection of 1950-60s movie magazines at the age of 5,  I began my journey to backtrack the trail of life of my uncle, he was 1950-60s'  Hong kong Mandarin moviegoer, also The Chinese Audrey Hepburn - Hsia Moon's die hard  fan, he then returned to China with high ideal and a interuptted mind, and was found breathless in forest of Fujian, China during cultural revolution.

His collection inspired me, and thus I started my quest for classic chinese cinema, old magazines, old movie memorabillas, paying attention to local column about classic movie and classic stars, and slowly ventured into classic Hollywood as well,  I must say is a  lonely passion in this niche and bizzare interest, because no one in my peer group, or my the elders,  would ever make sense out of it, simply because  they did not know how, but I just stayed cool, and I still live on with it.

Lam Fung in Chinese New year Fahsion, Screenland Issue 17
I'm a dreamer,  I live with my retro-vision, and I once wondered and depressed,  if I dreamt a dream that never will, but now I finally know, is  right beside me now, I surrounded it intimately tender in my arms, and I have no regret on my life ever since.


Over the journey, there are a lot of people that helped and guided me sincerely, and some are among  my greatest friends nowadays.  First of all, my  greatest masters of retro and Chinese/ Hollywood classic movies, who I'm fortunante enough to meet and become their buddy , they are  Mr Paul Fonoroff, the foremost movie critic and movie historian, Mr Roth Lai (oldflames), the Anna Wintour of Malaysia, as well as Dave of US National Film Preservation Foundation. Also Mr Zheng Hong from Hunan, China, a ture talent in cinematic history that choose to hide from public vision,  Their generousity and depth of knowledge always amazed me!

Secondly, I would like to thank to my all-time great brother and his wife,  Mr and Mrs WengWu (madam Wong Pao Cheng, one of the foremost  leading ladies of Great Wall Studio in 1960s-1970s) (screen and real life couple of Greatwall and Feng Huang Studio, they are the household name of SG/MY Chinese in the 1960s-1970s),  who has cared and helped me alot during my journey of dream, without hesistation. Not to be missed is Mr great buddy Mr Sze of sil Metropole, who supoorted me wholeheartedly ever since I get to know him since 2010. I would like to thank Mr Sha Dan,  the fellow researcher and program manager of Beijing National Film Archive, who has been genuinely kind  really helpful along the way.

Paul and his wonderful collection (hkcinemagic)
Overhere I would like to marked my most respectful acknowledgement to three leading ladies of Chinese Cinema, who granted me exclusive interviews, and has been very nice and  kind to me. They are the ultimate screen legend and idol Madam Miranda Yang (Hsia Moon), the forever Great Wall Crown Princess and Fair Lady of Chinese Screen, and the Shanghai-HK screen legend Madam Myra Wei Wei, whom her potrayal as Zhou Yu Wen in Fei Mu's Spring in a Small Town, 1948, has been immortalized in world cinema history. Also the Ingrid Bergman of Hong Kong screen Madam Lee Tziang, the third princess of Great Wall Studio, whom I consider to be the finest and most versatile actress of the era.

The list of acknowledgment still running long, but I cant afford to miss out dearest Mr and Mrs Zhang Da Peng (HK),  Mr Poon (HK), Mr Monty (HK), Mr Tsin-Kei Chan (US) , Miss Cai Ying (Shanghai), Madam yang Jie (Hsia Moon's sister, Beijing), Miss Lam (HK), Mr Gilbert Jong (Denmark), Mr Cheah (Penang), Mr Lim (Penang), Mr Ang (Malaysia), Mr Chen Yang (Tianjin), Mr Jiang (Jiang Su), Shuesik (HK), Yuen (HK), Damien (HK), CEO Wen Shuo (Shanghai)~~

Thanks for everything, i truly feeel that im the blessed one, and I treasure everything and everyone, and I shall try my best to perfect my dream and realize my dream!



Monday, December 17, 2012

When US flag and Cheongsam met: The Life-Imitate-Idol Lee Yi-Nin

Premier issue of South China Magazine, most likely a Hong Kong publication, dated 1st August 1937, featuring the Movie Queen of South China Lee Yi-Nin (李綺年). (Source: kongfz.com)

It is a rather interesting cover which I discovered in Mainland auction site: the premiere issue of  South China Magazine, featuring the regally glamorous Lee Yi-Nin as cover girl, and the what  surprise me the most is the five pointed stars on her fabulous Cheongsam, which I can't help associating  it with the five pointed stars of the US flag, moreover the tiara-like accessories somehow reminds me of the Statue of Liberty.

Just a wild speculation, the entire styling appears to me like a portrayal of the Chinese American spirit (majority are from South China), and Movie Queen Lee Yi Nin representing the South China Homeland soul (comprises of the Cantonese speaking region, which comprises of Guangdong province, Hong Kong and Macau, and part of Guang Xi Province)  ,  channelling the national symbol of United States of America, by embedding it to the cheongsam and styling.

Speaking about  South China Movie Queen, people fondly remember Pak Yin (白燕), the evergreen Cantonese movie queen that ruled from mid 1940s till mid 1960s, but seldom recalled that  Lee Yi-Nin was in fact the very first Queen of Cantonese Cinema, which ruled from 1935 to early 1940.

Lee Yi-Nin's career and life is a rather a dream like short journey that filled with dramatic surprise, all begins with her fanaticism towards her ultimate idol: Ruan Lingyu.

Lee Yi-Nin was born Lee Chor Heng (李楚卿)  in1912. In early 1930,  Lee Yi-Nin left Hong Kong to Shanghai with her friends without informing her parent in prior, in order to obtain the authentic autographed photos of Ruan Lingyu. Her fanatical idolization has upset  her father so much  until her father destroyed her entire life worhty Ruan Lingyu collections, and Lee ran away from home. It was not until   years later that the parent rediscovered the rebellious daughter appeared in a movie poster of Hong Kong cinema, and has become an actress then.

 In the missing year Lee drifted to Macau and resided there for quite awhile, and when Ruan Lingyu suicide in Shanghai, her sorrow was so intense until she chose to follow her idol's fate by attempting suicide, only was saved by a fisherman, who was a gambler. After a series of expolitation by the gambler  and another rich man whom gambler lost her to, she ran away and come across the audition advertisement of Grandview Studiom and decided to give a try.  Her resemblance to Ruan Lingyu surprised the directors 关文清 and 赵树桑, and immediately she was offered a contract and was given a title role in the film whom her parent rediscover the daughter in hong Kong cinema: The Song of Yesterday (昨日之歌), which  was an instance success.

Still of 人言可畏, 1936 (source: douban)



The most interesting one was her third feature, the biopic Ruan Lingyu named 人言可畏(People words are to be feared), which Lee played her idol Ruan Lingyu.

In 1939, when her Hong Kong rival Nancy Chan Wan Seung (陈云裳)made a successful career move in Shanghai and become the Queen of Mandarin Cinema, Lee Yi-Nin too was offered a contract to Shanghai,  however Lee was not able to made it through, she was rejected by Shanghai audiences, and failed to re-establish herself in Hong Kong movies  after WWII. Moreover she have undergone much distress of the sudden death of her loved one, and later went through a lot of pain  in the relationship with a parasitic scoundrel.

Lee Yi-Nin, The Young Companion cover Girl (source: douban)

Lee Yi Nin committed suicide by overdose barbiturate at the age of 37 in 1949 (some source cited 1950) in Haiphong Vietnam (some source said Phnom Penh) , while on a theatrical tour of French Indochina.

It was reported that her final word to her friend was: I adored Ruan Lingyu so much, but I shared a unfortunate sorrowful life like her, even ended up having a useless husband just like her Zhang Damin...

Lee Yi Nin made her final tribute and homage to Ruan Lingyu by suicide, and  ended  her sad ironic dramatic Idol-imitating life through a form of eternity....and the most regretted thing is, none of her films survived....





P/s: A rare alluring  photo of Lee Yi-Nin at Dave's Soft toufu, click here.

 Reference:
Paul Fanoroff: Silver Light: A Pictorial History of Hong Kong Cinema, 1920-1970
The No 2 Ruan Lingyu: Lee Yi Nin
Lee Yi-Nin, Wikipedia Chinese





Thursday, December 13, 2012

Beneath the Peony (1978) - Finale of the Eternal Love Song


Featuring here is the promotional still and flyer of Beneath the Peony 1978(牡丹花下),  a sensual adult drama starring Hsia Hou Lan(夏厚兰) and Tony Liu (刘永) . In March 2012, Tony Liu was surprised to find out this flyer and was wondering if there's any surviving copy somewhere, as  he has never watched it before..

The last comeback feature of the independent Pacific Film Studio Hong Kong, this is the last film directed by Yu Cong(于聪), and probably the last film of  his beloved wife Helen Hsia Hou Lan too.Soon after the film premiere in Taiwan, Yu Cong passed away from terminal cancer early July 1978.

Yu Cong sestablished Pacific Studio in 1955 and produced it's debut The Resurrection of Roses (Yu Cong co-star with Helen Li Mei) and later The Diamond Flower(钻石花),  Hsia Hou Lan debut, he has never gave up his passion and dream  for movie, and high ideal to become a successful director,   only fate and talent betrayed him till the very last day in 1978. Almost every film project attempted along the way ended up as failure, and Yu Cong has been  drowning with debt and financial issue since late 1950s...

Despite of  career filled with misfortune, the best gift from God to Yu Cong is his wife, one of the most sophisticated and glamorous bombshell of Chinese screen Hsia Hou Lan, who has never betrayed his love, and supported him in all means at all time. Rumors and tabloid even implied that at their most desperate and diffcult period , Hsia sometimes have to trade herself to patrons, and  silently Yu Cong would waited at the hotel lobby, and after that, the couple would walked away hand in hand ...

1950-60s, Hsia Hou Lan gave up all the chances and opportunities that could make her a big star and most celebrated bombshell of Chinese Cinema, insisted whoever offered her the contract must also madeYu Cong the director, and this precondition somehow deemed unacceptable by the film studios and producers. In the name of love, Hsia Hou Lan career was never really a success one,  but she never regretted of her choice of life:

In presumably her final interview to media not long after Yu Cong's funeral, she said:

'before his final breath, Yu Cong told me that it was the most beautiful thing in his life to have me as his wife, and both of us has promised each other that no matter what we become in the next life, we still want to be together, and love each other forever...'

From my latest interview with film veteran earlier in June 2012, I asked about Hsia Hou Lan, everyone talked about their love stories, but no one has ever spotted her after Yu Cong passed away..

Beneath the Peony ended a true bittersweet love story behind Hong Kong cinema, and it becomes the finale of the screen and real life couple's  eternal love song...a song that always moved me, touched my soul so profoundly, and I sincerely hope their everlasting love legacy continues to be known and acknowledged...



Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hsia Moon and Ruan Lingyu - Resemblance in Aura, Spirit and Style

Ruan Lingyu - The Silent diva of 1930s


Hsia Moon, The Great Wall Crown Princess, 1950s


Apology for the long absence , and here comes my very first post in 2010!


Featuring today are two photos of my favorite actresses from different era, the first one is "The Goddess" of Chinese cinema of 1930 Ruan Lingyu, a familiar portrait which you might have seen it in Ruan's biopic - Center Stage, 1992 by Stanley Kwan; another one being a recent collection by Roth, The 1950s Hong Kong Left wing cinema top actress, the "Greatwall Crown Princess"- Hsia Moon.

Observing a highly Resemblance in spirit, aura and 1930 's style, I somehow wonder it might be a tribute from Hsia Moon to Ruan Lingyu.

In the meantime, it reminds me on the Q and A section with fans, from The official magazine of Great Wall Studio - "Great Wall Pictorial", stated that one of the Feng Huang Motion Picture Co, (Also a peominent left wing mandarin studio) film project in pipeline of was actually Ruan Lingyu biopic, which Zhu Shilin being the director, with was about to feature Hsia Moon to play the tragic Ruan.

Of course, the film project has been abandoned at last, and the actual reason are unknown. However, I'm glad this studio portrait survived, and somehow it give me a precious glimpse on how Hsia Moon might look like as Ruan Lingyu.

Would Hsia Moon successfully portrayed Ruan Lingyu if the film ever being produced? I believe she would be, objectively and subjectively:)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hokkien Monroe In Nyonya Kebaya - Astonishingly sexy Ting Lan



Accidentally found this adverstisement in The Companion pictorial, and fall in love immediately!

Look at Hokkien Monroe Ting Lan, dressed elegantly in nyonya kebaya, curvaceously glamorous with a sunshine smile, and not to mention her captivating gaze...

Oh my god, that is astonishingly sexy, stunningly beautiful!

I must watch one of her film in my future visit to HKFA~~

Treasures From Ebay: Forever Bai Guang - Eternally Bai Guang




It is always wonderful and extremely pleasant to chat with Madame Yang, It made me forget the existence of time.

A progressive leftist in 1960-1970s of Malaysia, I truly impressed by her charisma, being sporting, generous, intellectual, rationally witty and open minded, which I have always learnt alot from her.

When comes to movies and art, she is definately an unquestionable enthusiast, whom she also watched wide genres of movies, ranging from silent to contemporary arthouse movies too.



Of course, not to mention her encounter and stories with movie legends, including Bai Guang,

I have came to learnt alot about later-year Bai Guang from her, and from Madame Yang's story sharing, and it is truly interesting to discover that being a superstar and a household name, you have no idea how pleasant and modest Bai Guang was.

Besides that, for 3 times in her life bai Guang suffered a great deal from cancer, but with her ultimate courage and survivor instinct, she overcome and cope with it again and again, and that really inspired me.

Despite admiring her courage and spirit, somehow I feel life seems to be too diffcult for her

but thank god, she found her true love at last.

I still yet to visit Bai Guang's Piano tomb, to pay her my heartfelt respect.

Last but not least, sharing a few treasures found in ebay, especially to all who love and appreciate Bai Guang,

Heroicallly Elegant and confident, these photos were taken in the pinnacle of her career, probably in late 1940s or early 1950s of Hong Kong...



Forever Bai Guang, eternally Bai Guang...