"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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jackie Chan was originally offered the role of Duan Xiaolou due to his own childhood experience of training in the Peking Opera. But he turned it down, fearing that the film, which deals with themes of homosexuality, might tarnish his image. See more »
In the streets on the eve of the Communist takeover (1948), Dieyi and Xiaolou watch the chaos unfold while seen between them in the background is Master Zhang the Eunuch. The next shot reveals Master Zhang sitting across the street from them. See more »
As an WASP American married a lady from Mainland China, I have a great interest in and curiosity about China. My wife's mother and father actually saw these men perform. I have discussed this movie with many Chinese friends, most of whom saw it before coming to this country. Some of them knew the story from real life as well as the movie. They are quick to point out the accuracy of the story in its detailing of Chinese history from the end of the last dynasty until its end during the Cultural Revolution. They also claim that the major happenings in the movie are real events, not the norm for most of Hollywood's "real life" stories. One point of conjecture in the movie is the sexually of Dieyi. It is presumed he is/becomes a homosexual. However, from what I have learned about the Peking/BeiJing Opera through reading and discussions, it is more likely that Dieyi was virtually unaware of his own sexuality. As opposed to being a hetero or homosexual, he was asexual in a way like it had be surgically removed from his being. It had been taken from him through the rigors of his training and years of performance. His love for Xiaolou is powerful, maybe even surpassing ordinary man/woman love, but platonic in as much as his mind is devoid of its sexuality. He suffers the same jealous anger and sense of betrayal as might be found when a wife discovers the cheatings of her husband, and reacts, unfortunately, accordingly (Heroin). His real, enduring love is performing. It is the one constant that has seen him through. He throws himself into it, being willing to perform for anyone, even as it drives the story to the end. The end of the movie is not satisfying to everyone. It was not a Hollywood ending. However, it was reality.
90 of 118 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this