Mei Lanfang (Leon Lai) was a a national icon in China, and the biggest Peking opera star of modern times, most famous for playing female roles. The film traces the key moments in Mei’s life: from the duel on stage between a youthful Mei and his once-legendary master, his extra-marital affair with fellow opera singer Meng Xiaodong (Zhang Ziyi), his success on his 1930 US tour, to his decision to stop performing following the Japanese occupation of Beijing in 1937.