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Classics and discoveries from around the world, thematically programmed with special features, on a streaming service brought to you by the Criterion Collection.
The magnetic Maggie Cheung lights up the screen in two mesmerizing metatextual works that deconstruct the nature of stardom. In Hong Kong New Wave master Stanley Kwan’s lush, kaleidoscopic biopic CENTER STAGE, Cheung embodies ill-fated screen siren Ruan Lingyu, who rose to fame as the “Greta Garbo of China,” but whose turbulent private life gradually began to mirror the tragic melodramas in which she starred. Cheung then plays a version of herself—a Hong Kong action star who arrives in Paris to play the latex-clad lead in a remake of Louis Feuillade’s classic crime serial LES VAMPIRES—in Olivier Assayas’s IRMA VEP, an ultracool, hallucinatory tour through the 1990s French film industry.