Monday, March 2, 2009

Cecilia Cheung

Cecilia Cheung was one of the young women caught in the debacle last year when pornographic photos of Cecilia, Ah Gil and a few others, taken by Edison Chen and stored on his laptop, were found by a repair tech in Hong Kong and posted on the web last year. Within a few hours they were everywhere and the actresses have had a very tough year, especially Ah Gil, who as Gillian Chung of the Twins, had a squeaky clean, girl next door image. Cecilia Cheung has suffered from the fallout as well, with her career on hold although her family and her in-laws have been very supportive of her. Cecilia gave an interview recently--the best short discussion of the entire tawdry affair is by Valerie Soe in her blog beyondasiaphilia.

Cecilia Cheung had a charmed film career until theses photos were released. In her first movie, "Fly me to Polaris", she had a role that almost any actress would love to do and Cecilia squeezed every drop of pathos from it. Some of the most jaundiced reviewers at the Hong Kong Movie Database confessed to shedding a tear while watching the unabashed weeper.

"One Nite in Mongkok" was a real departure--she plays a young mainland woman who comes to Hong Kong for three weeks every couple of months to work as a prostitute in order to keep her family out of poverty. She plays who Dan Dan is a hooker without a heart of gold. She tries to keep an upbeat attitude and has a realistic, if not enthusiastic, view of her profession. She hates what she does but is from a very poor village and is one of fourteen in her family. Making $8,000 in three weeks at $130 a trick—her cut after the pimp and room are paid for—she obviously pays very dearly for her family loyalty. One of the few upbeat moments in the film comes at the very end when the audience realizes that Dan Dan really won’t be returning to Hong Kong—or if so, at not as a Mongkok prostitute. We see her in a confrontation with her pimp Walter, played by a memorably thuggish Chan Mong-Wa. She is finished for the day, has done her quota of tricks, knows how much she needs to make and how much she has made and just wants to leave. Neither she nor the audience is surprised when Walter starts slapping her around—this is just part of the cost of doing business and and part of the degredation she has to suffer in order to help her family--it is heartbreaking. Dan Dan is a very luridly written role and Cecilia and comes across very well as a person who is being pulled in several directions at the same time.

Two pictures from "One Nite in Monkok":

Incandescent as the Princess in "The Promise" Cecilia's beauty, which could be a distraction in grittier roles, served her very well here. Even though the Princess was a spirit, a human being and, possibly, a hallucination her portrayal was perfect, switching from one aspect to another and running the scales from imperious to heartbroken, to both desperate and hopeful this last when she was locked up in an iron birdcage prison. "The Promise" had a big budget with an international all star cast directed by Chen Kaige and was the entered in the Oscar sweepstakes by the People's Republic. Cecilia was exceptional even as part of this formidable group.

Pictures from "The Promise":


  1. Hi E,

    Thanks for the linky!


  2. A pleasure Valerie--you are one of the few people who can cut to the heart of a controversy while keeping it straightforward and clear.

    Once I figure out how to get pictures posted so that they aren't all over the place I will publicize my blog so that a link may actually result in some traffic.

  3. Hey E,
    I'm already getting traffic from your site so someone must be reading it! Must be all the Cecilia news lately--
    Speaking of which, don't forget her awesomeness in Lost In Time, which is a classic weepy, as well as her outstanding comic pairing with Francis Ng in The White Dragon. I remember when she debuted in Stephen Chow's King of Comedy--I could immediately tell that she was going to be a superstar. Some people just have it & she brings it in spades.