Film Review Using Historical Context of Lai Shi China's Last Eunuch Film Review

Excerpt from Film Review :

Lai Shi, China's Last Eunuch

The movie Lai Shi, China's Last Eunuch was directed by Chi Leung "Jacob" Cheung which has been nominated for 4 awards at the Hong Kong Film Award. The story mostly follows the young Lai Shi on his quest to become a eunuch for the Manchu Emperor. The story is adapted from a somewhat autobiographical novel.

Lai Shi's quest of becoming a eunuch is very noble; the main goal behind his decision of castrating himself in order to become a eunuch was to be able to earn more money for his family to survive. The eunuchs were usually recruited from lower classes and castration was a necessary element for anyone wishing to become a eunuch during this era (Scholz, 131). In this regards, it would be true to say that Lai Shi is defined as the real hero archetype, as he was ready to do a sacrifice in order to support a cause close to his heart. Another reason that does place Lai Shi as a traditional hero is the fact that for a part of his life, he was considered as an outcast. He had castrated himself in the hope of becoming a eunuch; unfortunately, the Dynasty collapsed shortly after and Lai Shi never saw his hope materialize itself. After main efforts to lead a normal life, he was still considered as being different and an outcast due to the castration. On the other hand, the fate that Lai Shi is submitted to is not representative of how a "hero" goes on as earning rewards and being recognized. Lai Shi submits a rather non-heroic destiny that somewhat counteracts with the other hero archetype characteristics presented by his story.

The movie, as aforementioned, is based on a true story. This fact alone is a great indicator that China's Last Eunuch does justice in its representation of the historical context and the eunuchs during the Ching Dynasty. Of course, the movie has been romanced a tad, as it is customary for these types of autobiographical movies, but overall director Cheung did quality work in trying to preserve historical aspects of the era portrayed in the movie as well as with his representation of the Dynasty and the eunuchs.

The fact…

Sources Used in Document:


Lai Shi, China's Last Eunuch. Dir. Chi Leung Jacob Cheung. 1988. Hong Kong Edition DVD.

Scholz, Piotr O. Eunuchs and castrati: a cultural history. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2001. Print.

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