Rewatch. The first time I watched it in a theater I missed something or another and couldn’t follow it after the halfway point. This time I was paying more attention and I got all of it except a little bit in the middle that still leaves me a little puzzled. The movie is a visual treat and the plot reminds me a little of “To Live” (Zhang), in that we follow these fundamentally non-political characters through many different political changes and see how they deal. But this movie is more about the actual characters and their eccentricities and their relationships. I was impressed by the choosing and scripting of the child actors because they really are believable child-versions of the actors to play them later. I loved that the same character (played by Leslie Cheung) who wouldn’t lie in political court was also the character who wouldn’t say his lines right as a kid, despite being beaten for it. It’s still the same bullheaded character. The same can be said about the other kids.. Xiaolou and Xiao Si as adults are both believable extensions of the way they acted as kids. SPOILER: the one thing I didn’t quite understand was why they didn’t imprison or execute Dieyi when he admitted to singing voluntarily for the Japanese… the next few scenes are all kinda confusing too, but I figure they were meant to be since he was in an opium daze.