For fans of Brigitte Lin and for those new to her work, this book is a unique portrait of the actress who is known in Chinese communities around the world. Contains a profile of the actress on her life and work, retrospective of her work with film list, an interview with Lin, and interviews with friends and colleagues, which paint a full picture of the film star. With black and white photographs and movie stills. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (3)
By a fan, for the fans
But that's a good thing, as it gives the book a sincere and honest rather than exploitative feel. The bulk of the text consists of interviews the author was able to obtain with both Brigitte Lin herself and with friends and people who had worked with her. It's unusual in that the author is Japanese, the interviewees are Chinese, and the interviews were done in English! But I'm very very glad the book came out in English and not Japanese as the author apparently originally intended. Thank you!
I found it an illuminating, yet respectful, look at Brigitte Lin's career and something of her personal life. It was also interesting to read a bit about how the movie industry worked in Taiwan and Hong Kong. (Producers camping out at her home, threatening to jump out the window if she didn't agree to a deal, triad involvement, bags of cash, hazardous working conditions, being a "star" but not an "actor", how she was recruited right out of high school for her first movie, etc.) I also appreciated the numerous photos, both B&W and color. This is also a great book to have on hand as a reference, especially since the Brigitte Lin fan website went down.
Highly recommended. I'm glad I bought this book.
The Woman Behind the Legend
This book has, not only excellent documentation of the career of one of the most well-known actresses in the world, but offers a personal glimpse at the woman behind the legend. It is indeed a treasure! I have more than one copy.
Finally, a book in English about the great Brigitte Lin
"The Last Star of the East: Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia and Her Films" is a book of interviews with Brigitte Lin and various friends and co-workers of hers, covering Lin's 22 years as a movie star, first in Taiwan and later in Hong Kong, and her life as a wife and mother since her retirement in 1994. Fans of Lin know her from such high-profile HK films as PEKING OPERA BLUES, SWORDSMAN II, THE EAST IS RED, DRAGON INN, THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR and CHUNGKING EXPRESS, to name just a few of the 100 films she has made. She has worked with such key figures of Hong Kong cinema as Tsui Hark, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Wong Kar Wai, and Leslie Cheung, among others.
Thanks to her persistence and sincerity, author Akiko Tetsuya, a Japanese journalist based in Los Angeles, managed to get a series of interviews with Lin over the course of five years. Lin was impressed with her and cleared the way for her to interview many of her friends and colleagues. Directors Tsui Hark, Ronny Yu, Stan Lai, Yim Ho and Wong Jing are among those interviewed, along with Tsui Hark's wife, Nan Sun Shi; Taiwanese author Chiung Yao; production designer/editor William Cheung; photographer Yon Fan; and some of Brigitte's longtime personal friends. In the course of these interviews we learn a great deal about Brigitte, her personal life, her work life and her relationships with friends and colleagues. We also learn a great deal about what movie production was like in Taiwan in the 1970s and early '80s and Hong Kong in the 1980s and '90s. We also learn what it's like to be a movie star in Asia, where conditions differ significantly from those in Hollywood where stars are unusually driven and are granted extraordinary powers and privileges. Brigitte was an ordinary Taiwanese high school girl who became a movie star practically overnight without even seeking or desiring such stardom.
While the interviewees are frank in their discussion of some of the problems Brigitte had in the high-pressure world of Asian filmmaking, no one ever has a bad thing to say about her. It's quite probable that the author simply couldn't have found anyone with a bad thing to say, even if she'd tried. Not that she would have tried. The author has a tendency to gush over Brigitte in a way that would have been severely edited by a publisher. (The book is self-published.) Having worked in publishing and journalism myself, I can understand the need for such restraint. However, as a devoted fan of Brigitte, I have to admit I probably would have gushed the same way. And as a reader, I like it just the way it is and wouldn't cut a thing. This approach actually gets some very interesting responses from Brigitte, which just increase our respect for her.
There are passages in the book where the reader is a fly on the wall in a room full of women talking. Normally, when women get to chatting about makeup or wedding details and such, I try to leave the room. Here, I'm fascinated. Brigitte makes everything interesting. She comes across as a genuinely admirable person who has gone through several different stages in her life and learned valuable lessons in each and has now opted to devote her considerable talents and energies to being a wife and mother, roles that she seems to relish as much as any she ever played on screen.
When asked which of her films is her favorite, Lin declares it to be the Shaw Bros. production of THE DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER (1977), which I happened to see for the first time just before re-reading the book for this review and which immediately struck me as one of the best performances she's ever given. So I felt particularly gratified by that.
Now if only her early Taiwanese films would come out in remastered, subtitled editions, we would ALL be happy.
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