Forever Enthralled (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region All
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YesAsia Editorial Description
Nominated for Best Film at the 3rd Asian Film Awards, Forever Enthralled is both sweepingly epic and beautifully detailed in its portrayal of Mei's life and love, caught between the call of the stage and the tides of history. Zhang Ziyi, Chen Hong (Together), and Sun Honglei (Blood Brothers) essay the three most important people in Mei Lanfang's life. Zhang Ziyi stars as Mei's greatest love and stage partner Meng Xiaodong, a Peking Opera actress famous for specializing in male roles. Director Chen Kaige's wife in real life, Chen Hong plays Mei's strong-willed wife, while Sun Honglei delivers a brilliant scene-stealing performance as Mei's besotted manager. Acclaimed Japanese actor Ando Masanobu (Sukiyaki Western Django) also takes a supporting role in Forever Enthralled.
This edition comes with interview, previews, and other special features.
|Product Title:||Forever Enthralled (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version) 梅蘭芳 (DVD) (雙碟版) (香港版) 梅兰芳 (DVD) (双碟版) (香港版) 花の生涯 - 梅蘭芳 - （梅蘭芳） （2枚組） （香港版） Forever Enthralled (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)|
|Also known as:||Mei Lanfang Mei Lanfang Mei Lanfang Mei Lanfang Mei Lanfang|
|Artist Name(s):||Leon Lai (Actor) | Zhang Ziyi (Actor) | Sun Hong Lei (Actor) | Ando Masanobu (Actor) | Chen Hong (Actor) | Yu Shao Qun (Actor) | Wang Xue Qi (Actor) 黎明 (Actor) | 章子怡 (Actor) | 孫紅雷 (Actor) | 安藤政信 (Actor) | 陳紅 (Actor) | 余 少群 (Actor) | 王學圻 (Actor) 黎明 (Actor) | 章子怡 (Actor) | 孙红雷 (Actor) | 安藤政信 (Actor) | 陈红 (Actor) | 余 少群 (Actor) | 王学圻 (Actor) 黎明（レオン・ライ） (Actor) | 章子怡（チャン・ツィイー） (Actor) | 孫紅雷 （スン・ホンレイ） (Actor) | 安藤政信 (Actor) | 陳紅 （チェン・ホン） (Actor) | 余少群 （ユー・シャオチュン） (Actor) | 王學圻（ワン・シュエイン） (Actor) Leon Lai (Actor) | 장쯔이 (Actor) | Sun Hong Lei (Actor) | Ando Masanobu (Actor) | Chen Hong (Actor) | Yu Shao Qun (Actor) | Wang Xue Qi (Actor)|
|Director:||Chen Kaige 陳凱歌 陈凯歌 陳凱歌 （チェン・カイコー） Chen Kaige|
|Subtitles:||English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese|
|Country of Origin:||Hong Kong|
|Picture Format:||NTSC What is it?|
|Aspect Ratio:||1.78 : 1|
|Sound Information:||Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS Digital Surround|
|Disc Format(s):||DVD-9, DVD|
|Region Code:||All Region What is it?|
|Publisher:||CN Entertainment Ltd.|
|Package Weight:||120 (g)|
|Shipment Unit:||1 What is it?|
|YesAsia Catalog No.:||1014037831|
2. Promotional Footage
3. Director & Leading Cast Interview
4. Photo Gallery
Director : Chen Kaige
In 1938, Mei Langfang's good friend, Qiu Rubai, stood at Mei Lanfang's sickbed. For decades, he got along with Mei as brothers and almost as enemies. Qiu suddenly found out that it took him a lifetime to understand Mei. He told Mei: Now I understand. You wanted to be an ordinary man. Maybe you're always an ordinary man...
Mei Lanfang was born in 1894 to a family of Beijing Opera performers. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, the social status of opera performers was no better than that of prostitutes. Although Mei Lanfang's grandfather, Mei Qiaoling, was appreciated by the court, he had to perform on stage half-naked because he played the roles of women. After he satisfied the audience, what he got was disdain. Mei Langfang grew up in such a family and, like his grandfather, he also played women roles. Mei Lanfang's uncle told him that there was a punishment in the court which yoked the erred actors with a paper cangue and made them hold level a bow of water with their enclosed and raised hands. Whoever broke the cangue would be clubbed to death. A paper cangue became the symbol of the opera artists. They were subject to the possibilities of being killed by all kinds of "clubs", and Mei Lanfang was one of them.
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features
Professional Review of "Forever Enthralled (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)"
After the critical mauling he received for his shabby wuxia and would-be epic The Promise, its easy to see Chen Kaige's return to Peking Opera and Farewell My Concubine territory as going back to the well. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, as he certainly has a fascinating subject in the form of Mei Lanfang, a legendary figure known for his portrayal of female roles and for defying the Japanese during the Second World War. Given that Mei Lanfang was the real life inspiration behind Leslie Cheung's character in Concubine, his experiences seem a natural, if perhaps a little unimaginative choice for the director as he attempts to return to his glory days.
The film follows Mei Lanfang during three phases in his life: his early teenage years (then played by Yu Shaoqun) when he first rose to prominence by challenging and defeating a renowned traditional opera king, the preparations for his first US tour ten years later (the role now taken by Hong Kong actor Leon Lai), and finally the tumultuous times surrounding the brutal Japanese invasion. The plot charts the most important relationships in his life, namely with his obsessed manager Qiu Rubai (Sun Honglei, Blood Brothers), who gave up his career as a teacher to follow the singer, his no-nonsense wife Fu Zhifang (played by the director's own wife Chen Hong, who also featured in his violin drama Together) and the apparent true love of his life, fellow singer and male-impersonator Meng Xiaodong (Zhang Ziyi).
The downside of returning to the subject of Peking Opera is that Forever Enthralled perhaps inevitably compares unfavourably with Farewell my Concubine, which was not only the director's best and defining work, but one of the greatest Chinese films of modern times. Still, there is certainly something to be said for Chen's decision to play to his strengths and the first hour of the film sees him at his very best. This section makes for a deeply engaging character study of Mei as a young man, focusing upon his complex relationship with rival Shi Sanyan (a fascinating character in his own right played expertly by Wang Xueqi), and his struggles with the confines of opera tradition. Although the result of their popularity duel is obviously known, it remains gripping, and effectively maps his transformation from boy to star. Yu Shaoqun is excellent in the role, managing to be both innocent and driven, and giving a real sense of Mei's desire to perform and innovate.
Unfortunately, things falter somewhat as the film leaps forward ten years, not least since it appears that a section has been cut from the film, likely the scenes involving Gillian Chung as Mei's young wife. This is a real shame as it prevents the film from painting a full picture of his life, and misses out what would have been a vital part of his emotional development. To be fair, Leon Lai tries very hard in the role of the adult Mei, though he is no Leslie Cheung, and struggles to show either much range or indeed much emotion in general, and the viewer never really comes to understand the complex and conflicted singer. As a result, his relationships with both Fu Zhifang and Meng Xiaodong fall a little flat, partly due to the fact that neither has much screen time.
It doesn't help that like Lai, Zhang Ziyi is not really up to the challenge of her role, and spends most of her surprisingly brief appearance with an odd grin plastered over her face. To an extent, such complaints are mostly Chen's fault, as he seems strangely determined to keep Mei at a distance, preferring to spend time with those around him, in particular manager Qiu Rubai and throwing in the odd incident to keep things moving such as an assassination scheme. All things considered, this is possibly for the best, as the supporting characters are interesting, thanks in part to uniformly strong performances from the rest of the cast, as is the film's cultural and historical backdrop. Through this, the proceedings do enjoy a quietly epic feel, perhaps marking the film as a more of a historical drama rather than a biopic as such.
It's here that the film really shines, thanks to some gorgeous visuals, with Chen as ever showing a great eye for detail. The sets and costumes are all convincing and beautiful, and his unobtrusive style brings the past to life with a deft, grounded touch. Although long, the film is well paced, and could have been longer, especially given the question over the possibly excised footage. Chen certainly knows opera, and indeed these scenes are the best in the film, colourful and lively and likely to catch the eye and imagination of viewers, whether they are interested in the form or not.
This helps to distract from the film's failings, and as a result, whilst not in the same league as Farewell my Concubine, Forever Enthralled is a credible and interesting piece that is still very much worth watching for fans of the director and subject material. Whilst it would have benefited from more character development or a stronger set of leads, it manages to engage throughout, and sees somewhat of a return to form for Chen, if not a particularly convincing one.
By James Mudge - BeyondHollywood.com
Customer Review of "Forever Enthralled (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)"
Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: (3)
See all my reviews
November 1, 2011
I'm still puzzled why Zhang Ziyi was named the main actress while she did not appear much in the movie? Nevertheless, the ones that made this movie interesting were Yu Shaoqun (young Mei Lanfang), Wang Xueqi (Mei's grandfather), Sun Honglei (Mei's sworn brother and manager), not Leon Lai nor Zhang Ziyi. During the first half of this movie, I was so captivated with all characters and their actings. Yu Shaoqun was so wonderful. Ditto, Sun Honglei and Wang Xueqi. They all made this movie so enjoyable. Unfortunately, the enjoyment didn't last long when Mei Lanfang became adult Leon Lai. From then on, the movie went down hill.
Leon and Zhang were so stiff and dull, especially Leon Lai. He was a poor choice for Mei Lanfang. Without them, I'd have given this movie a higher rating.
See all my reviews
September 28, 2009
This customer review refers to Forever Enthralled (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
|The Bejing dialect is very hard to understand while the subtitles are far too small for reading. It was hard work watching. I was hoping to learn a bit more about Mui's life... Also you can never see the actors' faces clearly due to lazy cameras. Zheung Chi Yee is too short to play a male opera role. Very disappointing after waiting so long for this.l|
See all my reviews
May 3, 2009
"Forever Enthralled" is a Chen Kaige-directed biopic of Beijing Opera great Mei Lanfang. In the film's first act, during which Mei Lanfang is played brilliantly by opera-trained newcomer Yu Shaoqun, Mei is depicted as an exceptional young artist chafing at the traditional strictures of female operatic roles. Under the influence of the intellectual Qi Rushan (Sun Honglei), Mei seeks to add greater emotional nuance to his characters. This leads to a confrontation with Mei's mentor, and the leading operatic star of the age, Shi Sanyan (Wang Xueqi), who views Mei's innovations merely as a means of drawing attention away from Shi's performances. This artistic struggle, and the bizarre operatic milieu in which it takes place, are depicted vividly and interestingly.
In Act 2 of the movie, we leap ahead ten years and find the married Mei (now played by Leon Lai) succumbing to the aggressive advances of rising operatic star Meng Xiaodong (Zhang Ziyi). Zhang Ziyi sparkles in her surprisingly small role, but the Mei character comes off much less well. Just as Mei chafed against operatic traditions, now he chafes against the responsibilities of marriage, but this struggle just seems self-indulgent. Turning his back on his loving and supportive wife (Chen Hong), he heedlessly pursues his attraction to Meng. Mei's handlers seek to save him by persuading Meng that Mei's greatness as an artist flows from his essential loneliness and that Mei's dalliance with Meng is destroying that loneliness.
Act 3 of the film presents a muddled portrayal of Mei's resistance to Japan's occupation of China. He refuses the request of the Japanese to perform, but the consequences of that refusal are unclear. Then, with no real dramatic culmination of any particular theme, the movie simply ends. And therein lies the central problem with "Forever Enthralled": The first 50 minutes of the film develop an intriguing central character driven by a commitment to innovate; the rest of the film meanders down less interesting threads of Mei's life. I can recommend the film for the performances by Yu Shaoqun and Zhang Ziyi and its depiction of the operatic world. Unfortunately, when the dramatic climax in a 146-minute long movie occurs only 50 minutes into its running length, the viewer will not be 'forever enthralled'.