In the 14th Century, the lawmakers of the Ming Dynasty prohibited actors of the zaju performance from impersonating emperors, kings and rulers of any kind. Six hundred years later, the Blue Apple was a movie star in Shanghai at less than twenty years old. One year she was teaching night classes in a tobacco factory, the next, a treasure of the Diantong Film Company and a fantasy for directors and producers at Xinhua and Lianhua, who were quoted freely in the celebrity papers as dreaming of being the guardian executive of the unattached darling. But this was Shanghai in the 1930s, no one could hold her down. Not the journalist Tang Na, not the director Zhang Min, even if they gave her roles, even if they attempted suicide. She was not a xiao niao, a little bird in a cage. But acting is acting, and life is life, and when the bombs started falling on the night clubs, to avoid impersonating a ruler she would have to become one.
In the airwaves, in the films, in the people, her pulse continues. [Pete Bradt]