Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mei Lanfang: Who could fill his shoes?

A new film in production from China is a biopic of the life of Peking opera star, Mei Lanfang (directed by Chen Kaige). Traditionally only men performed in Peking Opera including the female roles. Mei Lanfang was a master and give his name to "The Mei Lanfang School". He was also the first artist to introduce Peking Opera to the West and won international recognition becaming a cause celebre in the European theatre, as a result. The film will star Chen Hong, Gillian Chung, Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha), Leon Lai (plays the title role) and Japanese star Masanobu Ando (Kids Return). Rumour is Zhang Ziyi has taken a lesser fee to play in the film which has been a gracious gesture to help the production. This has not helped the pain with the pain she experienced from wearing the traditional high-heeled shoes worn by Peking opera stars.

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