Synopsis: Tiedan belongs to a family of folk singers and a family of lovers. Starting in the early 1960s in a village in the north of China, we see him as a ten-year-old scamp, listening to a comic opera aria. His father and their lovely twenty-something neighbour Sister May are er ren tai performers (a local folk-singing style for two performers). May becomes part of the family and Tiedan is besotted. When May’s fierce husband shows up to drag her home, Tiedan is crushed—not for the last time.