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Farewell My Concubine (1993)

Ba wang bie ji (original title)
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The story of two men, who met as apprentices in the Peking Opera, and stayed friends for over 50 years.

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Writers:

(novel) (as Lillian Lee), (screenplay) (as Lillian Lee) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Qi Lü ...
Master Guan
Da Ying ...
Manager
...
Chun Li ...
Xiao Si (in his teens)
Han Lei ...
Xiao Si (adult)
Di Tong ...
Zhang the Eunuch
Mingwei Ma ...
Douzi as a Child
Yang Fei ...
Shitou as a Child
Zhi Yin ...
Douzi as a Teenager
Hailong Zhao ...
Shitou as a Teenager
Dan Li ...
Laizi / Peking Opera schoolboy
Wenli Jiang ...
Douzi's Mother
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Storyline

"Farewell, My Concubine" is a movie with two parallel, intertwined stories. It is the story of two performers in the Beijing Opera, stage brothers, and the woman who comes between them. At the same time, it attempts to do no less than squeeze the entire political history of China in the twentieth century into a three-hour time-frame. Written by Michael Kim <leda@imsa.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

opera | school | friend | boy | prostitute | See All (171) »

Taglines:

The passionate story of two lifelong friends and the woman who comes between them.

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and strong depiction of thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

15 October 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Farewell My Concubine  »

Box Office

Gross:

$5,216,888 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (USA) (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(flashback sequence)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

When Douzi is first examined by the owner of the opera troupe, his extra finger is on his right hand below the thumb. When he withdraws the hand from the opera troupe owner, he pulls back his left arm. When his mother cuts the extra finger off a few moments later, it is now on his left hand, next to his pinkie. See more »

Quotes

Master Yuan: A smile ushers in the spring.
Master Yuan: A tear does darken all the world.
Master Yuan: How truly does this befit you. To you... only you are possessed of such charm.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Naamsaang-neuiseung (1998) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A lavish, opulent, and intense film; bring your lunch
1 January 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As far as story and content goes this owes more than a little to The Last Emperor (1987), which is not surprising since Director Kaige Chen was a member of the cast of that film and no doubt was influenced by its success. But stylistically, and especially as the film was directed and cut, "Farewell, My Concubine" is original and stands alone. If The Last Emperor was a Western movie about the Chinese political experience in the Twentieth Century, then Farewell, My Concubine is a Chinese movie, influenced by the West, about that same experience. While the former focused on the emperor and those around him, "Farewell..." focuses on two actors of the Beijing opera.

Admittedly, "Farewell..." is long (I saw the 157-minute version) and sometimes strays from it intent, but gains and maintains power and keeps our interest mainly because everything is presented in a starkly-lit, intensely focused manner. The epic-like story itself is good if a little pedestrian at times. The lavish and stunning sets in opulent color and design, are just fascinating to view. Everything from the extras in the crowds to the porcelain for tea is carefully chosen and presented. Particularly striking are the traditional costumes and makeup, shown to advantage through the fine camera work. But what makes the film is the glimpse we get of the world of the Beijing opera and its traditions. From the Dickensian boy's school for the actors to the intrigues with patrons and the political powers that be, there's the sense of a world beyond our experience.

The acting was also excellent. The beautiful Gong Li, who played Duan's wife was captivating as she displayed a wide range of emotion. Leslie Cheung as Dieyi, "the concubine," and Fengyi Zhang as Duan, "the king," were also excellent. The boys who played the actors as children, especially the actor who played Douzi, were first rate.


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