Biography, Drama, History
December 5, 2008 (2008-12-05)
Kaige Chen (screenplay), Geling Yan (screenplay), Kuo-fu Chen (screenplay)
Chen Kaige, Geling Yan, Chen Kuo-Fu
Leon Lai Ming(Mei Lanfang), Meng Xiaodong),
Sun Hong-Lei(Qiu Rubai),
Hong Chen(Fu zhifang),
Yu Shao-Qun(Young Mei Lanfang),
Chen Kaige directed Forever Enthralled and Farewell My Concubine
Forever enthralled trailer sd
Forever Enthralled (simplified Chinese: 梅兰芳; traditional Chinese: 梅蘭芳; pinyin: Méi Lánfāng) is a Chinese biographical film directed by Chen Kaige; the film marks Chen's eleventh feature film as a director. Forever Enthralled follows the life of Mei Lanfang, one of China's premiere opera performers. It stars Leon Lai as Mei, Zhang Ziyi, Sun Honglei and Masanobu Ando.
Known during production as Mei Lanfang, the film's English title was changed in November 2008, shortly before its release, to Forever Enthralled.
The film was shown in competition at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival for the Golden Bear award.
Forever Enthralled was produced on a budget of $15 million (US) by the China Film Group and Taiwan's China Magnetics Corporation Company (CMC Company), which had previously helped fund John Woo's Red Cliff and Alexi Tan's Blood Brothers. Unlike Chen's previous film, The Promise, Chen is not re-teaming with his usual producers, Etchie Stroh and Moonstone Entertainment.
Just prior to the film's release in December 2008, Forever Enthralled producer, the China Film Group, ran into legal hurdles after it was sued by another production company, Milimeter. Milimeter claimed that it held the copyright to the film based on a contract signed between the two companies in 2004.
In an interview with Newsweek, director Chen Kaige stated that in contrast with his previous film about Beijing opera, "Farewell My Concubine is fiction" whereas "Mei Lanfang existed in history." In Farewell, Chen had more freedom with the story (based on Lilian Lee's novel), but with the biographical Mei Lanfang, Chen was more careful as the film was made under the blessings of Mei Lanfang's family and Chen consulted with Mei's son about the film's story. Chen revealed that many topics, such as Mei's extramarital affair, were "taboo" to the family, but that Mei's son told Chen to "do whatever you want to do" so long as the film deals with those topics with respect.
The film made its international premiere in competition at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival, where critics called it a "sumptuous" film.
The Hollywood Reporter describes the film as "traditional but elegantly mounted," and although less exotic than Farewell My Concubine, Chen "exhibits a firm grasp of subject, sympathetic characterization and a connoisseur's eye for the cultural milieu of 1930s-'40s China." The review writes the film's art direction as "superb" and states "from splendidly lit interiors to authentic costumes and accessories, evoking the theater culture and literati scene of 1930s Beijing."
However, Variety on the other hand states the film is a "largely workmanlike biopic" that is only "occasionally engaging." Variety describes the film's supporting performances are strong and more so than the leading performances, and the film "rarely achieves the artistic elevation it strives for." The review did however gave praise to the film's production design, costume and cinematography.
ReferencesForever Enthralled Wikipedia
Forever Enthralled IMDbForever Enthralled Rotten TomatoesForever Enthralled themoviedb.org