On January 22, many netizens congregated to remember female author Xiao Hong (蕭紅), who passed away 72 years ago. Xiao Hong will be further commemorated in an upcoming historical film titled The Golden Era <黃金時代>, which stars Tang Wei (湯唯) as the author and William Feng (馮紹峰) as her lover.
Xiao Hong: A Woman Caught Between Talent and Love
Born in 1911, Xiao Hong experienced a tumultuous youth. At age 19, she ran away from home to avoid a planned marriage, but found herself with child just two years later. After escaping being sold to a brothel, she found refuge with newspaper editor Xiao Jun (蕭軍), and they began living together.
In late 1932, Xiao Hong also began to write, completing two short stories the following year and a long novel the year after. During this time, she still lived with Xiao Jun, though the two were never officially married. In 1938, however, they broke up, and Xiao Hong married another writer, Duanmu Hongliang (端木蕻良), with whom she enjoyed her final years of life.
The Golden Era will follow the ten years from the start of Xiao Hong’s writing career to her death in 1942. Although her relationship with Xiao Jun plays a large role in this period, director Ann Hui (許鞍華) wanted to make sure the film portrayed all of the author’s life, not just the romantic bits. For her, the movie’s core is depicting Xiao Hong as “a woman caught between talent and love” and whose life is “like the dazzling but fleeting flash of a meteor.”
According to Hui, the film’s title comes from a letter that Xiao Hong wrote to Xiao Jun, in which she described a surprising revelation: “In this silence, something suddenly came to my heart, like an alarm bell, [saying] ‘Isn’t this my golden era? Right now.’”
Fewer Expenses on Cast, More Funds for Production
The Golden Era gathered more than 30 celebrities to form its cast – a feat that had not been replicated since The Founding of a Republic <建國大業> in 2009. Producer Tan Hong (覃宏), who serves as the chairman of Stellar Mega Films, revealed that many of the actors even refused remuneration after they read the script, which was handled by Li Qiang (李檣), the screenwriter for last year’s So Young <致我們終將逝去的青春>.
The generosity of the cast thus allowed for more of the budget to be allocated to production and other behind-the-scenes work. The director and the crew reportedly consulted more than 100 historical sources and studied over 10,000 historical photographs to prepare for filming, which lasted five months and spanned six locations. Complete production of the film totaled three-and-a-half years.
The Golden Era will open in theaters this year, with the hope that it will have the chance to be screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in February.
This article is written by Joanna for JayneStars.com.