Wang Renmei: The Wildcat of Shanghai

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Hong Kong University Press, Jul 1, 2013 - Performing Arts - 144 pages
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Wang Renmei was on a fast track to become one of China’s leading film stars in the 1930s. Her early films were received with magnificent praise by audiences and critics alike, though she later lamented that she became famous too early and never had a chance to properly study acting. The film Song of the Fishermen in which she sang and played a major role was the first Chinese motion picture to win an International Award in Moscow in 1935. Wang’s personal struggles reflected the turbulent period from the end of the Qing dynasty to the rise of Deng Xiaoping. This study explores her artistic achievements amid the prevalent anti-feminist and feudal society in China prior to the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949—attitudes which contributed to the downturn of Wang’s promising career and forced her to accept various bit parts among the more than twenty films in which she appeared. In addition, personal problems as well as the Anti-Rightist Movement and the Cultural Revolution led to her hospitalization for mental illness. Wang’s life is emblematic of the experiences of many left-wing and Communist Party members from the Shanghai film community who were viewed with suspicion and enmity by the Yan’an clique headed by Mao and later the Gang of Four. Wang’s performances in World War II for the Nationalist troops as well as her work with the US forces in China had a dire effect on her career after 1949. Yet today, her films are being discovered again.

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Land of Fish and Rice
The Bright Moon Troupe
Overnight Stardom
Song of the Fishermen and the Creation of Wildcat
Exodus from Shanghai
Chaos in China
Wang Renmei in the End
Interview with Qin Yi July 4 2009
Interview with Dr Wang Yong March 26 2010
Interview with Yuhua Dong June 12 2011
Filmography of Wang Renmei 19141987
Sources for Wang Renmeis Films
About the Author

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About the author (2013)

Richard J. Meyer teaches film at Seattle University. He is the author of Ruan Ling-yu: The Goddess of Shanghai and Jin Yan: The Rudolph Valentino of Shanghai.

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