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August 30, 2009

  • "Mei was not just a person from the old, yellowed papers," Chen says. "He was energetic, beautiful and a true icon."

    Known for various female roles, Mei enjoyed high fame and huge popularity over his 50-year stage life thanks to his exquisite performance and continuous innovation.

    A saying of his time may explain how popular he was: "All men and women want to marry Mei Lanfang."

    During the 1920s and 30s, Mei had the courage to promote Peking Opera abroad, touring Japan, the United States, the Soviet Union and receiving warm welcomes wherever he went.

    The University of Southern California and the Pomona College awarded him honorary doctorates. "He was successful needless to say," Chen says.

    "What people hardly know is the misery behind him. He was a boy with a sad childhood, an unpopular pupil, a man who did not have a smooth marital life and an actor disdained by writers and philosophers of the early 20th century.

    "This film tells people that Mei had hardships, too, and when he dealt with these hardships, he experienced the same torture as we common people do."

    Posters of Forever Enthralled

    Mei was born in 1894 in a brothel area in Beijing. His father died when he was 4, and his mother passed away 10 years later. He started learning
    Peking Opera at 7, but was too slow a student to impress his first teacher, who gave him up and claimed he had no flair.

More entries: no subject, Mei Lanfang, Pride and Prejudice(傲慢与偏见)

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