Meng Xia Poster

Biography

Xia Meng (a.k.a Hsia Moon or Miranda Yang), born Yang Meng in 1933 in Shanghai, China, is a prominent Hong Kong actress and film producer. She was a key figure of Hong Kong's left-wing Mandarin movie scene.

In 1947, Miranda Yang Meng moved with her family to Hong Kong, where she attended Maryknoll Convent School. In 1949, in conjunction with the school's event, she was chosen to play the leading role in the school's English language production of Saint Joan.

Xia Meng joined The Great Wall Studio in 1951 and was given her first role as the title character in Pingqian Li's Jin hun ji (1951) (A Night-Time Wife), rocketed to stardom in her debut. The comedy was a hit and decades later, stands out as a genuine classic of Hong Kong cinema. Many other hits followed. There was the tragic demimondaine of Ri chu (1956) (Sunrise), and, at her best, as the virtuous widow in Xin gua (1956) (A Widow's Tears) (both 1956), and perhaps most remarkably, her gender-bending turn as a man masquerading as a woman in the all-female Shaoxing opera comedy Wong lao hu qiang qin (1960) (The Bride Hunter).

Xia Meng's grace, talent, and beauty has made her the prima donna of Hong Kong's left-wing Mandarin movie scene, and also one of the Chinese-cinemas brightest movie stars in 1950s-1960s. In 1959, Xia Meng emerged as the most celebrated actress in the Hong Kong Top Ten Mandarin Movie Star Election, organized by The Great Wall Pictorial. No doubt she is dubbed as the 'Crown Princess' of Great Wall. (The 'second princess' is 'Hui Shi' (Hwei Shek), while the 'third princess' is Sisi Chen (Sze Sze Chan). Three leading ladies were widely known as Great Wall's Three Princesses)

A rare actress who embodied the beauties of a modern woman and those of a historical maiden, Xia Meng was often described as "the God's Masterpiece," and she was one of the few Hong Kong movie stars whose films were released in the People's Republic of China before the Cultural Revolution. She exuded glamour in a manner that was then no longer permitted among her mainland counterparts.

In 1967, feeling insecure and threatened following the starting of the cultural revolution, Xia Meng, who was pregnant at the time, excused herself from being involved in this grand political movement. Soon after, she finished the screen performance in Ying chun hua (1968) (Oh, The Spring Is Here) in September, she resigned from the studio, and quietly left for Canada even before the film was released. It wasn't until two years later that she returned to Hong Kong, and started the business in garment manufacturing, which she kept a distance from the film industry for about 10 years.

In 1980, Xia Meng returned and formed Bluebird Movie Enterprises Ltd, and produced the debut film _Tou bun no hoi (1982)_ (Boat People) (directed by Ann Hui), a highly acclaimed movie and landmark feature for the Hong Kong New Wave, which won several awards including the best picture and best director in the second Hong Kong Film Award. Two more films were produced before Xia Meng retired.

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Xia Meng has a star with hand print and autograph by the name of Miranda Yang on the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Hong Kong, and in August 2005, China honored 128 movie stars in a commemorative stamp collection marking 100 years of Chinese language cinema, Xia Meng was one of the honorees.