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Farewell My Concubine (1993)

Cast: Leslie Cheung, Leslie Cheung, Zhang Fengyi, more...
Director: Chen Kaige, Chen Kaige
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Studio: Miramax
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Hong Kong, China, Gay & Lesbian, Features
Running Time: 172 min.
Subtitles: English
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Until Farewell, My Concubine (Ba Wang Bie Ji), not many people were aware that most members of the Peking Opera were originally orphans or illegitimate castaways with nowhere else to turn. Such is the case of the film's protagonists, Duan Xiaolou (Zhang Fengyi) and Cheng Dieyi (Leslie Cheung), two homeless outcasts, trained from childhood in the grueling rigors of the Opera by master Lu Qui. The film traces the 52-year friendship between Xiaolou and Dieyi, a friendship pockmarked with fiery conflicts and tender reconciliations. Though the delicate Dieyi specializes in female roles and the gutsy Xiaolou plays noble warriors, theirs is an essentially heterosexual relationship; still, when Xiaolou takes upon himself a prostitute bride (the magnificent Gong Li), Dieyi is as petty and jealous as an outcast mistress. Farewell, My Concubine holds the viewer in thrall from start to finish; as such, it is thoroughly deserving of its many international film awards and nominations. Surprisingly, this worldwide success was something of a flop in its home country of China; perhaps it hit too close to home for those viewers who'd lived through the same years so painstakingly recreated in the film. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Have you rented this yet? by Misshaped April 29, 2004 - 7:35 PM PDT
7 out of 7 members found this review helpful
If you've been thinking about renting this, then make sure it's high up in your queue. Honestly, it's about time you saw it. Leslie Cheung is absolutely amazing and it's such a loss that he is no longer with us. The first part of the film shows us in painful detail the training young boys went through to be a part of the Peking Opera Academy in the early 20th century. The film is also filled with overlapping and complex relationships: 1)Cheng Dieyi (Leslie Cheung) and Duan Xiaolou (Fengyi Zhang) are two boys who grow up together and become "stage brothers", 2)Juxian (Gong Li) and Xiaolou marry & 3)the king and concubine in the opera "Farewell my Concubine". This is not just a personal journey you're watching, but also an informative Chinese history lesson. See it already, ok?

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.63)
233 Votes
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