Sunday, October 19, 2008

In Praise of Maggie Cheung


A great beauty and greater actress, last year Maggie Cheung stunned and saddened film-goers the world over when, at age 43, she announced her retirement from the screen. A recipient of numerous awards for memorable roles, she's opted to focus on other creative endeavors, painting and music among them.



Having appeared in over 70 movies, the need for a rest is understandable. As for her countless fans, well, we'll have to make do with a vast back-catalog of indelible performances. The Actress, Ashes of Time, Chinese Box, Irma Vep, Clean, Hero, 2046, and, of course, In the Mood for Love are just a few of her films to find a following in the USA. If you haven't seen any of these gems, you have your work cut out for you. Get to it! Beauty and intensity will be your reward.


(Humbly posted by Thombeau of FABULON. Come play with us!)

11 comments:

NATHANIEL R said...

sniffle. I miss her.

but since she's not making *new* movies at least we've got ASHES OF TIME REDUX for an early taste.

Anonymous said...

Dont forget to watch "Comrades: Almost a Love Story", her inarguable best work. And other highly acclaimed works like:

Full Moon in New York
Red Dust
Song of the Exile
Days of Being Wild
New Dragon Inn
Green Snake

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

I have to be the stickler here and point out that Cheung was in like, two shots of 2046.

But those pictures are stunning! Wow.

thombeau said...

Anonymous, all of those films are fantastic!

Brooke, you're quite right about 2046, of course. And about those pictures!

Michael said...

Ah... Maggie.

Seeing ASHES OF TIME again earlier this year was wonderful. And in the cinema at last (even in the ending was truncated a bit). Maggie's pivotal monologue brings tears to my eyes when I see it.

I hope Wong Kar Wai will draw her back to film for one last ride somewhere down the track. Go with her to a city far away, like Havana or Tangiers or St Petersburg... or Tokyo. And make one last tribute to a wonderful screen presence.

They can call it HER in English. (Or even SHE. I daresay it will be fair bit more valuable for the human race all the adaptations of H Rider Haggard's classic put together:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0026983/ )

Glenn said...

I'd be excited to hear any music she puts out after hearing her work in Clean.

Boyd said...

Wow! The Actress (aka Centre Stage)... that is a film that needs to be talked about more! One of the greatest films from any country of the 1990s.

Anonymous said...

What a great Actress and Marvelous Woman she is!!!
Her retirement is a really bad news, but we must forget that we have at our disposition an impressive filmography which will allow us to appreciate this Screen Queen forever and ever...

just in case, you're interested...

Maggie's top performances:

1) THE ACTRESS (CENTRE STAGE) - one of the best biopics ever, Maggie is simply outstanding as Ruan Ling-yu, Asian Garbo

2) IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE - in Wong Kar-wai's modern classic Maggie sublimely steals Leung Chiu-wai's heart...and not just his. Irrestistible when she walks in the streets with her "cheongshan"

3) COMRADES: ALMOST A LOVE STORY - not very famous among the western audience, this superb melò show us how much versatile Maggie could be

4) CLEAN - directed by her former husband, the great Olivier Assayas, Maggie is intense in this tough story of addiction and redemption

5) FULL MOON IN NEW YORK - one of Kwan's best and Maggie is awesome as the career girl

6) FAREWELL CHINA - heartbreaking as the woman who goes in America and forget everything, including her husband (the other Tony Leung) in Clara Law's...

7) GREEN SNAKE - Maggie didn't work often with the remarkable Tsui Hark, but when she did, it was a great thing: she's simply gorgeous as the snake woman in this breathtaking erotic fantasy. The scene where she seduces the indian dancer Najma is one of the most perturbing of Hong Kong cinema

8) ASHES OF TIME - Maggie doesn't appear a lot in Wong Kar-wai's real masterpiece, but when she does she's...wow...

9) A FISHY STORY - Maggie is beautiful and charming in this dramedy...maybe it's not one of her most famous films, but it's still interesting, expecially to show she's great not just in melò or action flicks

10) THE BAREFOOT KID - in this remake of Zhang Che's classic DISCIPLES OF SHAOLIN, Maggie appears as a young widow who gives ospitality to Aaron Kwok and she's, as usual, wonderful

mirko

NATHANIEL R said...

mirko

thanks for the list. i haven't seen most of these so must add to queue (the ones that are available at least)

i have seen comrades though and I've never quite understand its pull for people but i still love maggie

thombeau said...

Mirko, what a great list! I love Green Snake!

lowfi said...

It's is reported that Maggie Cheung join Tarantino on Inglourious Besterds as Madame Mimieux. Hope it will come true. It is supposed to release in 2009.
Before that, we may enjoy Ashes of Time, Redux.
To me, my choice of Maggie's film list as followes:
In the Mood for Love (2000, directed by Wong Kar-Wai)
Comrades, Almost a Love Story (1996, Peter Chan)
Center Stage (aka Actress, 1991, Stanley Kwan)
Clean (2004, Olivier Assayas)
Dragon Inn (1992, Raymond Lee)
Green Snake (1993, Tsui Hark)
Irma Vep (1996, Olivier Assayas)
Ashes of Time (1994, Wong Kar-Wai)