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Forever Enthralled (DVD) (Special Edition) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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Forever Enthralled (DVD) (Special Edition) (Japan Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10 (3)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Acclaimed Fifth Generation director Chen Kaige brings the tumultuous life of Peking Opera legend Mei Lanfang to the big screen in the highly anticipated biopic Forever Enthralled. The inspiration for Leslie Cheung's character in Chen Kaige's 1993 masterpiece Farewell My Concubine, Mei Lanfang was one of the greatest Peking Opera stars of modern China. An actor who specializes in female roles, he was renowned for his great beauty on stage and performed extensively around the world, famously introducing Peking Opera to Western audiences. Pulling viewers into a riveting world of musical allure and historical tumult in early 20th century China, Forever Enthralled follows Mei Lanfang's amazing, inevitable rise to fame - from his bold challenges against his teacher as a teenager, to his US tour that brought New York to its feet, and finally to his refusal to sing during the Japanese Occupation period. Portrayed in youth by newcomer Yu Shaoqun and in adulthood by Hong Kong star Leon Lai (Three), Mei Lanfang embodies the professional and emotional struggles of a man whose life belonged not to himself, but to the stage.

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 making of, interview, and trailer.

© 2009-2018 YesAsia.com Ltd. All rights reserved. This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Technical Information

Product Title: Forever Enthralled (DVD) (Special Edition) (Japan Version) 梅蘭芳 (DVD) (特別版) (日本版) 梅兰芳 (DVD) (特别版) (日本版) 花の生涯 〜梅蘭芳〜 スペシャル・エディション 〜梅蘭芳(メイランファン)〜 スペシャル・エディション Forever Enthralled (DVD) (Special Edition) (Japan Version)
Also known as: Mei Lanfang Mei Lanfang Mei Lanfang Mei Lanfang Mei Lanfang
Artist Name(s): Ando Masanobu | Musaka Naomasa 安藤政信 | 六平直政 安藤政信 | 六平直政 安藤政信 | 六平直政 | ワン・シュエチー | イン・ター Ando Masanobu | Musaka Naomasa
Release Date: 2009-11-20
Publisher Product Code: DABA-642
Language: Japanese, Mandarin
Subtitles: Japanese
Country of Origin: China
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Publisher: Kadokawa Pictures
Other Information: DVD
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1021203071

Product Information

[アーティスト/ キャスト]
レオン・ライ / チャン・ツィイー / スン・ホンレイ / チェン・カイコー[陳凱歌] (監督) / チャオ・チーピン[趙季平] (音楽)

[特典情報]
映像特典収録

[テクニカル・インフォメーション]
通常版/本編147分+特典45分
製作国 : 中国 (China)

[ストーリー]
京劇の名門に生まれ、その才能に恵まれた梅蘭芳(メイ・ランファン)は若くして女形のスターへと登りつめていた。海外で学んだ邱如白(チウ・ルーパイ)は、彼の舞台に心を奪われ地位も家も捨てて梅蘭芳と義兄弟の契りを交わす。歌い手だった福芝芳(フー・チーファン)と結婚し、邱のアドバイスを受けてさらに円熟味と輝きを増す梅蘭芳の舞台。そんな彼の前に現れたのが、京劇界きっての男形女優孟小冬(モン・シャオトン)だった。瞬く間に惹かれ合うふたり。彼女の存在によって京劇界から一線を置くようになった梅蘭芳を引き戻すため、邱と芝芳はあらゆる方法でふたりを引き離そうとするのだった・・・。

[解説]
愛を舞い、愛に散る。『さらば、わが愛 覇王別姫』を超えるチェン・カイコー監督の最高傑作!

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Forever Enthralled (DVD) (Special Edition) (Japan Version)"

April 14, 2009

This professional review refers to 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

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Forever Enthralled (DVD) (Special Edition) (Japan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10 (3)

lpham
See all my reviews


November 1, 2011

This customer review refers to Forever Enthralled (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)
Supporting Actors Stole the Show Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
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.
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cuddley bear
See all my reviews


September 28, 2009

This customer review refers to Forever Enthralled (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
ok Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
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
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Kevin Kennedy
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May 3, 2009

This customer review refers to Forever Enthralled (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Intermittently Enthralled Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
"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'.
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