Cheng Bugao 程步高（1898～1966) was born in 1898 in Pinghu, Zhejiang. His early education was in private schools, after which he was admitted to Aurora University (震旦大学) in Shanghai to study journalism. He began his involvement with film as a student, writing movie reviews for a Shanghai newspaper, and translating articles from Western journals introducing film technology. He left Aurora without graduating and returned to Pinghu to teach at a primary school there until 1922, when he went back to Shanghai, intent on pursuing a movie career. After obtaining the necessary financial backing, Cheng formed the Dalu (Mainland) Film Company, and made his directing debut for his new studio in 1924, directing two feature films and two documentaries, which he used as a resume to gain entree to other, larger studios. His big break came in 1928 when he was hired by the dominant Mingxing studio. Over the next decade he worked closely with such other major figures as Xia Yan, Tian Han and Hong Shen, directing and/or writing more than 40 films, over 20 of them in a single 4-year period. He was also one of the first Chinese filmmakers to make use of wax disc recording technology for dubbing sound onto silent films, assisting director Zhang Shichuan in making the first Chinese sound film, "Songstress Red Peony." During the brief Sino-Japanese war in early 1932 he and a photographer went to the front lines and put together a documentary called "The Battle of Shanghai." Some of his works in the 30s are regarded as classics of Chinese cinema's first golden age, such films as "Spring Silkworms" (1933), "Raging Torrent," "The Same Hatred," "Go Northwest" and "A Bible for Daughters" (1934), and "New and Old Shanghai" (1935). During WW2 Cheng worked in Wuhan for the military, making morale-building shorts. After the war he moved to Hong Kong, where he directed 20 more motion pictures for the Yonghua and Great Wall studios. He retired in 1961 to devote his remaining years to writing his memoirs, Yingtan Yijiu 《影坛忆旧》("Recollections of Film Circles"), posthumously published in 1983 by the China Film Press of Beijing. Cheng Bugao died in Hong Kong on June 20, 1966, following a career in which he wrote and/or directed some 60 motion pictures, many of them classics of Chinese cinema.
[right, Cheng Bugao during his Hong Kong phase]