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Dead Director's Film Debuts
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Chen Yifei's final movie made its debut yesterday, a year after the renowned artist died suddenly from a gastric hemorrhage. 



Song Meiying and her son Chen Tian pay homage to Chen Yifei at his gravesite yesterday. The visual artist died from a gastric hemorrhage a year ago. — Zhang Suoqing


The Barber was screened to Chen's friends and family, as well as cast and crew members who worked on the movie as one of several events held yesterday to mark the one-year anniversary of Chen's death.   


Events included an exhibit of his paintings on loan from family and friends, a fashion show, the publication of his second wife's book about their time together, and the creation of a foundation named after Chen.  


"The movie is great," said Wu Jian, a long-term friend of Chen. "Chen was a master in art. It is a pity that he left us too early."


Chen died during shooting of the film, which was finished by renowned Hong Kong director Ng See-yuen. Ng was one of Chen's closest friends and the movie's original art director.   


The film tells the tale of a sad love triangle set in the 1920s.   


"Chen had sacrificed everything for this movie including his health and life," said Song Meiying, his second wife.   


Song yesterday published her new book In Memory of Chen Yifei's Visual World.   


"It is difficult to describe Chen in a few sentences," said Wu Meisen, who set up Taikang Art Street where Chen owned a studio. "He is worth a thick book. Although he was a controversial celebrity, I know he was a very proud person inside."




Born in 1946 in Zhenhai, a small city in neighboring Zhejiang Province, Chen achieved fame as a painter while still a young man through a series of oil paintings depicting historical events. In the early 1980s, he, like many of his peers, furthered his study in the United States.   


After gaining fame, and fortune in New York, he returned to China to set up a business empire.   


By the time he died, his holdings included a modeling agency, a publishing house, a costume design business, a restaurant, magazines and movie production. Many of his companies were reportedly in heavy debt at the time of his death, however.


He eldest son is currently fighting Song over Chen's estate.   


(Shanghai Daily April 10, 2006)

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