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The choice of Zhang's cast is not at all convincing, she is too short and tiny to play an emperor on stage with Lai.
Chinese opera is a lot more demanding artistically and physically compared to the Western one as each cast small or big requires to sing, dance, let alone performing using expressions such as eyes and fingers, and the highly acrobatic moves. Unfortunately, we didn't see much acting of hers in Forever Enthralled.
The actor playing the young Mei is excellent though and odd to be praised though. For films like this perhaps they are better off sticking to proper Chinese opera actors and actresses.
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