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To recognize and celebrate women's achievements in films, the RAS Film Club is hosting a special event featuring the internationally acclaimed Chinese-American writer and scriptwriter Yan Geling (严歌苓). We will watch Celestial Bath (Xiu Xiu), which is adapted from her short story of the same name. It is an honour and privilege to have Ms Yan speak with us via Zoom after the screening.


About the Speaker:

Yan Geling is one of the most accomplished contemporary novelists and screenwriters writing in the Chinese language today, and she is also a well-established writer in English. A native of Shanghai, she published her first novel in 1985 – the first in a steady stream of novels, short stories, novellas, essays and scripts. Many of Yan's works have been adapted for film, often directed by household-name directors in China. Below is a list of selected adaptions:


  • The Flowers of War, directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Academy Award-winning actor Christian Bale, is based on one of her novellas, set during the 1937 Rape of Nanking. Other adaptions by Zhang include Coming Home (2014) and One Second (2020).
  • Feng Xiaogang (Assembly) directed a film adaptation of Youth, which was one of the biggest Chinese box office hits in 2017.
  • Forever Enthralled (2008), directed by Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine), is a biographical film about the Peking Opera Master Mei Lanfang.
  • Celestial Bath (1998) was directed by the famous actress-director Joan Chen (陈冲), another native of Shanghai. Yan wrote the script together with Chen. The film was nominated for the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, and later swept Taiwan's Golden Horse Award in 1998, winning seven Golden Horses: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Script, Best Score and Best Original Song. Yan Geling won the Golden Horse for Best Adapted Script together with Joan Chen.
  • A city called Macau (2019) was directed by the critically acclaimed Chinese female director Li Shaohong. Yan also wrote the script for the South Korean film Dangerous Liaisons, starring two distinguished Chinese actresses, Zhang Ziyi and Cecilia Cheung.

Yan is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the USA and of France's Société des Gens de Lettres. She is also affiliated with the Chinese Writers' Association and the Hollywood screenwriters' union, Writers' Guild of America, West. To date she has published over 40 books in various editions globally and has won over 30 literary and film awards. She lives in Berlin with her husband, daughter and their dogs.


We hope you can join us for this special event!


Convener: Katherine Song

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