Forever Enthralled

From the director of ‘Farewell, My Concubine’, this tells the story of Mei Lanfang, China’s greatest opera singer, who came to prominence in the 1920’s. He played mainly female roles and had a voice like a cartoon giraffe, but despite these shortcomings, was well received in both China and the US.

Mei, as I affectionately call him, started his rise to fame by daring to add ‘a bit of movement’ to a performance by his Master. This scene was reminiscent of Bob Dylan going electric in the 1960’s, and I half expected to hear someone shouting out ‘我不相信你, 你是個騙子.’ But they didn’t. There was then a thrilling competition between Mei and his Master, which was not really reminiscent of the rivalry between Oasis and Blur in the late 1980’s, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

Later on, the Japanese turned up and, as usual, got a bit upset about things because Mei refused to sing for them. It’s a pity he wasn’t friends with Ip Man, because Ip Man didn’t mind and would probably have sung in Mei’s place.

In any case, I thought the film was very moving and I thoroughly enjoyed it – but then I had just finished watching ‘Bride Wars’ and was open to just about anything that didn’t have Anne ‘For Crying out Loud’ Hathaway or Kate ‘Oh Look, Just F*** Off’ Hudson in it.