Education About Asia: Online Archives

The Worlds of Mei Lanfang

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A FILM BY MEI-JUIN CHEN
NEW JERSEY: LOTUS FILM GROUP
VHS. 57 MINUTES. COLOR. 2000

Mei Lanfang, the crossdressing actor and “King of Actors” of early twentieth-century China, has long been touted as an icon of Beijing Opera (Jingju) and China’s cultural tradition. The Worlds of Mei Lanfang seeks to represent Mei’s multivalent life and career, ranging from a theatrical reformist to a “traditional” Chinese cultural practitioner and missionary; from an idol of mid- and high-brow audiences to superstar of popular culture; from the representative of feudalistic culture to the people’s artist in Communist China.