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Forever Enthralled, Chen Kaige's Success Battle to Regain His Fame
    2008-12-31 16:28:29     CRIENGLISH.com
This year, new year films of various genres join a battle to become a box office hit. Forever Enthralled, an arthouse film, is competing strongly with commercial ones. The film has earned over one million yuan in the box office, and also helped director Chen Kaige regain his fame after his last movie, The Promise.

Here is our reporter Liu Min with more.

It has been almost a month since the premiere of Forever Enthralled, but the film still attracts many movie goers.

Forever Enthralled is a biopic about the Peking opera legend Mei Langfang, who is reputed for his delicate performance of female roles on stage. This arthouse film spans around the major events in Mei Lanfang's life, including his innovation of Peking Opera, a love affair with a famous opera actress, and his boycotting of stage performances during the Japanese invasion. Famous actors Leon Lai and Zhang Ziyi play the main roles. Director Chen Kaige says this two-and-a-half hour film was a product of a lot of hard work.

"The hardest part was to figure out an appropriate structure for the story. Mei Lanfang's acting, his patriotismwe needed to balance every part in order to show our audiences who the Mei Langfang was."

The director's interpretation of the Peking Opera legend has won him a lot of great feedback. Gao Jun, the vice director of New Film Association, elaborates.

"21 days after the premiere of Forever Enthralled, box office earnings have already exceeded 100 million Yuan. The attendance of the film has been nearly 100 percent for many days. But unlike commercial blockbusters, this film attracts more middle-aged and senior viewers. They comprise more than 30% of the audience."

Ms Yang is in her 40s. Though not a moviegoer, she still decided to watch Forever Enthralled.

"I came to watch this film for I'm a fan of Peking Opera. The film is good, I enjoyed watching it in a cinema."

Meanwhile, youngsters see the film in different aspects. Wu Qiong is one of them.

"I was moved by the story, especially when I saw Mei Lanfang's beloved leaving him with regret. This film is much better than Chen Kaige's last film, The Promise."

The Promise in 2005 was regarded as a huge failure both by critics and the public. The overly simplistic storyline and funny dialogue made many people laugh out loud in cinemas. This time, the historical story of Forever Enthralled and its in-depth descriptions of the characters' inner world have helped Chen Kaige regain his fame.

Forever Enthralled has also attracted overseas attentions. It will be a candidate for the Golden Bear award in 2009 Berlin International Film Festival.

For China Drive, I'm Liu Min.


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