Commemorating Wong Man-lei’s 100th Birthday: Wong Man-lei, an Actor’s Actor
The great Wong Man-lei (1913-1998) began her acting career at the age of 17 during the silent film era. In the pre-war era, Wong earned the nickname of “The Divine Star of Tragedies” for her heartbreaking tragic roles and her excellence in acting craft. Over her 60 years' film career, Wong witnessed both the rise and fall of Hong Kong Cantonese cinema. To commemorate Wong’s 100th birthday as well as the 15th anniversary of her passing, the Hong Kong Film Archive will host a retrospective of 11 films that showcases Wong’s screen persona along with a small photo exhibition.
The Vile Wench
The six Wong Man-Lei films in May highlight the actress’ vile wench persona. This persona has protected deadbeat sons and treated daughter-in-laws harshly. Even the comedic version of that persona displays greed with an wicked smile. In 1995, Wong received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 14th Hong Kong Film Awards for her contributions and achievements in Hong Kong cinema. Her consummate professionalism and devotion to her craft should serve as a model to young actors everywhere.
The Morning Matinee series is guest-curated by film researcher Yuen Tsz-ying