In 1924, young Cheng Dieyi (Leslie Cheung) begins training at the Beijing Opera House at the same time as Duan Xiaolou (Fengyi Zhang). Cheng specializes in playing female parts, often against Duan’s commanding male leads. While pretending to be in love with Duan onstage, Cheng begins to develop actual romantic feelings for his co-star, which are not reciprocated. Over the next 50 years, the two men maintain a complicated friendship as China undergoes turbulent changes.
As an WASP American married a lady from Mainland China, I have a great interest in and curiosity about China. My wife’s mother and father actually saw these men perform. I have discussed this movie with many Chinese friends, most of whom saw it before coming to this country. Some of them knew the story from real life as well as the movie. They are quick to point out the accuracy of the story in its detailing of Chinese history from the end of the last dynasty until its end during the Cultural Revolution. They also claim that the major happenings in the movie are real events, not the norm for most of Hollywood’s “real life” stories. One point of conjecture in the movie is the sexually of Dieyi. It is presumed he is/becomes a homosexual. However, from what I have learned about the Peking/BeiJing Opera through reading and discussions, it is more likely that Dieyi was virtually unaware of his own sexuality. As opposed to being a hetero or homosexual, he was asexual in a way like it had be surgically removed from his being. It had been taken from him through the rigors of his training and years of performance. His love for Xiaolou is powerful, maybe even surpassing ordinary man/woman love, but platonic in as much as his mind is devoid of its sexuality. He suffers the same jealous anger and sense of betrayal as might be found when a wife discovers the cheatings of her husband, and reacts, unfortunately, accordingly (Heroin). His real, enduring love is performing. It is the one constant that has seen him through. He throws himself into it, being willing to perform for anyone, even as it drives the story to the end. The end of the movie is not satisfying to everyone. It was not a Hollywood ending. However, it was reality.
BRRip 720p | MKV | 1280 x 720 | x264 @ 2560 Kbps | 2h 51mn | 3,41 Gb
Audio: Mandarin AC3 2.0 @ 160 Kbps | Subs: English (embedded)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Music | Director: Kaige Chen