Cover of Lin's book, "Window in the Window: Brigitte Lin's Puppetmaster"
Legendary Taiwanese film star Brigitte Lin, now in her late 50s, is back in the spotlight, after she left the film industry 17 years ago – but this time as a writer.
Window in the Window: Brigitte Lin's Puppetmaster caused a media sensation at this summer's Hong Kong Book Fair: more than 2,000 readers and fans of the film star attended the release.
The book will soon come to the mainland, with the simplified-Chinese edition on bookshelves by the end of this month, according to Guangxi Normal University Press.
"Since I entered the film circle aged 17, 39 years have passed, and there have been a lot of articles and books about me," Lin writes in the preface. "Some of them are half realistic, others are completely imaginary… This is the only one Brigitte Lin writes about herself… my real feelings out of my heart."
The book encompasses 46 essays, and more than 100 photos and calligraphic works, by Lin. Although she started writing columns in 2004, and published a range of articles in media like Southern Weekly, this is her first book.
Songwriter James JS Huang originally invited her to write a column but she refused, lacking the self-confidence. But after Huang passed away in 2004, she decided to write an essay to commemorate her friend's life.
Lin's first piece of formal writing, named Ocean's Roar after the theme-song from The Legend of the Swordsman (1991), written by Huang, enjoyed great popularity across China. Now the essays and photos in the book expose untold cinematic stories from the 1970s until Lin retired in 1994, in films such as Outside the Window (1973), A Dream of Red Mansions (1977) and Legend of the Swordsman. These movies became so famous in China and internationally that they together forged her role as a legend among leading actress in Taiwan and Hong Kong's film circle.
They also provide a window to untold tales from other big names, such as Ji Xianlin, Chiung Yao, Tsui Hark, Wong Kar-Wai, Leslie Cheung and Teresa Teng – famous writers, directors and actors who were all Lin's friends, as well as late stars such as Ji Xianlin, Leslie Cheung and Teresa Teng.
The Chinese edition will be priced at 88 yuan ($13), with an initial print run of 200,000 volumes, all pre-ordered by booksellers.
"It will probably be one of the bestsellers of the year," commented critic Zhao Zhiyu, who also owns a small bookstore in Kunming, Yunnan Province. He explained that both Lin's popularity and the quality of her writing are contributing factors.
"[In the book] there are a lot of stories about Lin herself, a lot of stories about her friends," Zhao says. "Lin's writing is also worth reading – the essays are very good!"
Her friendships with other actors and songwriters are the main attraction, according to 35-year-old Li Linyu. Li, a fan of actor Leslie Cheung, says he will be sure to buy a copy after it lands on the mainland.
"I'd like to have a glimpse at my idol's life, even though I hear that there is only one essay about Lin's friendship with [him]."
Born in 1954 in Taipei, Lin starred in more than one hundred films, from Chiung Yao's romances to wuxia (martial arts) movies, and impressed audiences with both her beauty and acting.
"During 22 years of acting, I acted a lot of roles in one hundred movies, from beautiful girl to swordswoman, but for me, the most difficult role to play is myself, Brigitte Lin," she writes. Readers can view this role for themselves when Lin arrives in Beijing to meet her fans and readers for the book's launch.
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