You Won’t Hear It On Entertainment Tonight

These days in Montreal, we’ve been forced to share bodily warmth for reasons other than sex, suffering through the kind of winter weather that makes us want to shake our ancestors and demand, “Who told you to settle here!”

As your dangly bits turn black and fall off from frost bite, why not take a break from blow torching your water pipes and read my first ever famous-person eulogy?

1963-2003Finally, confirmation has come via the imdb, Anita Mui died of cervical cancer on December 30. For those of you who don’t know who she was (and why should you, since there hasn’t been a peep about it in Western media), Anita was one of the biggest Hong Kong stars ever. Imagine, if you will, Madonna with an acting career every bit as huge as her pop career – say the likes of a Nicole Kidman. Combine the two into one person, and I guess that’s the nearest approximation I can come to Anita Mui. Now imagine this person announcing one day, out of the blue, that she has cervical cancer and is going to fight it. And then the next thing you hear is that she’s dead. That’s a major celebrity fatality by any standards. I can only guess at the impact in Asia. Here, of course, not even a ripple. It’s even worse than the deafening indifference leveled at Leslie Cheung’s spectacularly dramatic rooftop suicide last year. He at least got some mention because a few people remembered him from Farewell My Concubine. As for Anita, the biggest heartbreak for me was knowing she was scheduled to star in this year’s Zhang Yimou project – another period epic I’m already salivating for after seeing his last one, Hero, which I suggest you find somehow.

If the weather lets up, make a run to your favourite well-stocked video store and celebrate Anita Mui with a tribute festival. I know I’ll be dipping into my DVDs for a look at Miracles, The Heroic Trio (the Hong Kong import, of course, not the butchered domestic release), its wonderfully bleak sequel, Executioners, Drunken Master II (again, not the domestic fuck-job), A Better Tomorrow III, and maybe one or two others I’m lucky enough to already have on hand. Drop by for a visit, the kettle’s on.