I recently watched "
Forever Enthralled" (梅蘭芳) a biographical movie about a well known Chinese opera star,
Méi Lánfāng. I had seen posters advertising this movie when I was in Hong Kong in December 2008, but I don't think it was showing when I was there. (Like many Americans, I am a fan of Zhang Ziyi (章子怡), although I know many Asians (including many Chinese that I've spoken with) do not like her.
I thought it was interesting that the director is Chen Kaige (陳凱歌) who also directed "Farewell My Concubine" (霸王別姬) and "The Emperor and the Assassin" (荊柯刺秦王)(so far, that's my favorite out of his movies). His wife, Chen Hong ( 陈红), stars in"Forever Enthralled" as the wife ofMéi Lánfāng (and she does a very nice job of portraying a strong and righteous woman).
The movie starts out where the main character (played by Leon Lai 黎明) is a young man and he is a young actor in a Chinese Opera, portraying a woman (which was common in the old days). He becomes more and more famous, yet his closest his business partners end up controling him. At one point in his career, he meets Meng Xiaodong (played by Zhang Ziyi) who is a well known Chinese Opera actress who happens to act in male roles and the two develop a very intimate relationship. Unfortunately,Méi Lánfāng is already married at this point in his life and his business partners convince Meng Xiaodong to leave.
At one point in the film, it showsMéi Lánfāng's visit to America, where his Chinese Opera was well received. The latter part of the film shows that the Japanese (who were occupying China at the time in World War II) wantMéi Lánfāng to perform for them, but he refuses.
Although I'm not a big fan of Chinese Opera (mostly because I cannot understand the dialog), I enjoyed watching this movie. I am always curious as to the events in China during World War II - that was when my parents were very young and those events have shaped their lives.
Unfortunately, the music video sung by Leon Lai and Zhang Ziyi is NOT on the 2 disc Hong Kong version of the DVD! I don't know why, but HK DVDs usually do not include the music video (whereas the Korean DVDs almost always do!).
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