A seemingly unshakable friendship between two Chinese opera stars gets put to the test in the face of war, a communist takeover, the Cultural Revolution and the intrusion of a woman who tempts both of them. In a plot that captures 50 years of Chinese history, the once-inseparable Duan Xiaolou (Zhang Fengyi) and Cheng Dieyi (Leslie Cheung) find themselves increasingly at odds after Xiaolou weds a lovely courtesan (Li Gong).

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