The Posthumous Explosion of the Legend
There is no erratum on the newspaper. Leslie Cheung has left us nearly two years; however, he is definitely far from forgotten.
Candidly, I never think it would be easy; however, neither do I think it would be quite so hard to forget the sudden and tragic departure of him has caused us to reflect on how much this singular man meant to us from movie star to a new nomenclature: post-phenomenon. Why shouldn’t we shed maudlin tears and slobber over the memory of him? In fact, what makes Leslie real, whether in life or in art, is the courage with which he confronted his challenges. He was a puppet of his time fighting against the strings that hold him and subjugated him; struggling to break free of restrictions and plunge himself through life as a frantic explorer in an endless world.
Certainly, his real stardom and world fame have expanded with the manufacturing of the myth and his engrossing anecdotes after his departure. The characters he played on television, on stage and in the movies were hollow mannequins he filled with his talent. He was consummated at delivering a wholly rounded performance by making art transcend life. Unlike most actors, he easily moved from one genre to another, whether that is daring art house films, crowd-pleasing comedies or flirtatious sex romances. These all made him are respected as an actor’s actor.
Nevertheless, ever be described as chameleon, he was not prepared to rest on his laurels and get his typecast. On the contrary, he brought humanity and realism to his characters, and was able to make them believable even when they are totally unbelievable. In his work, with his totally nakedness, he brought to the huge screen the compassion, contradiction, depression, emotion, expression, frustration, and spontaneity of real life which can shorten our distance between art and reality. His enigmatic impeachability is particularly part of his irresistible appeal in his art and his work. His quintessence made him virtue and his flaw made him human. It is axiomatic that his ability as a vocalist and interpreter of lyrics remains indisputable and inimitable.
Time goes by, most mediums have started to have a partiality for him. They have all tiptoed around his death and have avoided the dread “suicide” word instead of using “departure”. With so many celebrities, the media knows to distinguish between the stars and the circus clowns, between those who commanded the media spotlight and those who had only been grazed by it. The cacophony voices and words that have joined together to create a chorus of informed opinion, uniformed speculation, hagiography, labeling and blame are all shed. He eventually really can rest in the debonair place and get his eternal immunization.
“Fool Day” is approaching. He will again become ubiquitous on radio, on record, on movie screens. “Stand up” he won’t and he never even though he has gone from singer to actor to director to icon to legend to stature to postage stamps and finally will possibly have his epitaph. My vision blurs with unshed tears. No matter how far my life will go, I can’t see him anymore and there is nothing to flare up anymore.
Through it all, if his life was short, and his departure untimely, his impact was and continues to be enormous. Like his art his legacy, he won’t go away.