Hu Die and actor Wang Jiting star in the 1928 film Woman Detective. (Photo provided to China Daily)
Hu Die (1908-89), hailed as China's Greta Garbo, was among China's top film stars in the 1920s and '30s because of her elegance and natural acting style. And she embodied a transformation in the mentality of Chinese women.
Hu starred in 90 movies in a career spanning more than four decades. She was crowned the country's first "movie queen" in a public poll in 1933, with almost three times the votes of Ruan Lingyu, an actress who was her friend.
Hu retired from films at age 60 and then lived a low-profile life in Canada. But her independence and confidence make her an icon of timeless beauty, which is reflected in a photo exhibition, Butterfly Wu: Queen of the Movies, comprising more than 200 images of Hu now on at Beijing's Taikang Space.
"Butterfly" is what her full name means in Chinese, and Wu is how her surname is pronounced in the dialect of Shanghai, her birthplace.
The portraits and photos show the life of the legendary actress. And they also capture many historical moments in the Chinese film industry from the beginning to mid-20th century.
Some photos have rarely been seen before, including pictures that show Hu as a member of a Chinese film delegation visiting Europe in 1935.
Besides, there are snapshots from the 1940s and later－when she lived in Hong Kong and Canada.