×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Brigitte Lin Returns as Star of Hong Kong and Udine Festivals

The romantic dramas from Taiwan in the 1970s should be remembered as an integral chapter of the history of Chinese language cinema. They were the by-products of the unique socio-political climate at the time, says screen icon Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia.

“People thought that the films we made back then were bad. But it was an important period of time from a historical perspective,” Lin told Variety. Taiwan was under martial law and cinema censorship was tight. “Romantic dramas became the most sought-after entertainment because of that.”

Lin went on to star in Wong Kar-wai’s “Ashes of Time” and “Chungking Express,” but was away from the screen until recently. In March, Lin was the focus of a retrospective at the Hong Kong Int’l Film Festival and this month at the Festival of Far East Film in Udine, Italy.

Taiwan-born, Lin rose to stardom in 1973 when she was still a teenager with “Outside the Window,” a romantic drama based on a novel by popular author Chiung Yao. The film sealed her status as a screen goddess, and she starred in several other screen adaptations of Chiung’s novels, including 1977’s “Cloud of Romance,” which has been digitally restored and premiered in Hong Kong, before playing in Udine. The film was shown in Taiwan for the first time at the Golden Horse Fantastic Film Festival.

“(In the 1970s) you could not have any violence, blood or sex. People were very conservative back then. Our kind of romantic drama features were the best and safest options,” she said.

Such romantic dramas were popular not only in Taiwan, but also in Southeast Asia. “Singapore and Malaysia were very conservative, so they liked such films,” Lin says. “Travel was difficult and those who left Taiwan, mostly never returned. The romantic dramas that showed the sceneries and landscapes of home were loved by Taiwanese abroad.”

Lin began making Hong Kong films and changed genre in 1981 when she joined new wave director Patrick Tam on the production of thriller “Love Massacre.” She quickly became popular among directors in Hong Kong, then enjoying its golden era. Lin’s role in Yim Ho’s 1990 film “Red Dust,” won her the Golden Horse best actress award.

But it was her role as Dongfang Bubai (The Invincible East), a powerful male leader of a cult group, in 1992 martial arts film “Swordsman II” that raised Lin to a new career peak. Crossdressing is a common tradition in Chinese opera, but was comparatively rare in Chinese film. Her performance in the film produced by Tsui Hark and directed by Ching Siu-tung, was stunning.

“The two people I trust the most in the film industry are William Chang Suk-ping (editor, costume designer) and other is Tsui Hark,” Lin says. “When Tsui Hark asked me to play the role of Dongfang Bubai, I said yes without second thought. Chang did the costume design and I couldn’t be happier with the results.”

She took on a number of martial arts film projects. But Wong’s “Ashes of Time” in 1994, became her last major film appearance before her marriage with businessman Michael Ying. With acting largely in her past, Lin has since become a popular author, publishing best-sellers in 2011 and 2014.

Prior to Udine, Lin confessed that she had yet to see the restored version of “Cloud of Romance,” but she did revisit the film a while earlier. “Honestly, I never realized I looked so beautiful back in the days,” she quipped.

More Film

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Yorgos Lanthimos

    Film News Roundup: 'The Favourite' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Boards Crime Drama

    In today’s film news roundup, Yorgos Lanthimos has set up a crime drama, “Here Lies Daniel Tate” is being adapted, and Donna Langley becomes a member of the USC film school board. DIRECTOR HIRED “The Favourite” producer-director Yorgos Lanthimos has signed on to write and direct crime drama “Pop. 1280,” an adaptation of Jim Thompson’s [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business

    Hollywood Agents Blast Writers Guild Over New Proposals

    The war between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents has escalated as the two sides battle over the rules on how writers are represented. The latest volley emerged Friday from Karen Stuart, executive director of the Association of Talent Agents, who accused WGA leaders of misleading its members and asserted that the guild [...]

  • Xavier Legrand Custody

    Cesar Awards: Xavier Legrand’s ‘Custody’ Wins Best Film

    Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody,” a tense portrait of a family torn by domestic violence, won best film, actress (for Lea Drucker), and original screenplay at the 44th Cesar Awards, which took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The awards are France’s highest film honors. “Custody,” which marks Legrand’s follow up to his Oscar-nominated [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content