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Farewell My Concubine (1993)

Ba wang bie ji (original title)
Two boys meet at an opera training school in Peking in 1924. Their resulting friendship will span nearly 70 years and will endure some of the most troublesome times in China's history.

Director:

Kaige Chen

Writers:

Pik Wah Lee (novel) (as Lillian Lee), Pik Wah Lee (screenplay) (as Lillian Lee) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 25 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leslie Cheung ... Cheng Dieyi (segment "Douzi")
Fengyi Zhang ... Duan Xiaolou (segment "Shitou")
Li Gong ... Juxian
You Ge ... Master Yuan
Da Ying Da Ying ... Manager
Qi Lü Qi Lü ... Master Guan
Han Lei Han Lei ... Xiao Si (adult)
Di Tong Di Tong ... Zhang the Eunuch
Zhi Yin ... Douzi as a Teenager
Mingwei Ma Mingwei Ma ... Douzi as a Child
Hailong Zhao Hailong Zhao ... Shitou as a Teenager
Yang Fei Yang Fei ... Shitou as a Child
Dan Li ... Laizi / Peking Opera schoolboy
Yongchao Yang Yongchao Yang ... Laizi as a Child
Fei Huang Fei Huang ... Old Master
Learn more

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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

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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The very first film from the People's Republic of China to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 »

Alternate Versions

Miramax Films mogul Harvey Weinstein purchased the distribution rights and removed ten minutes. This is the version seen in U.S. theaters (and also in the U.K.) According to Peter Biskind's book, "Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film", Louis Malle, who was president of the Cannes jury that year, said: "The film we admired so much in Cannes is not the film seen in this country (referring to the U.S.), which is twenty minutes shorter - but seems longer because it doesn't make any sense. It was better before those guys made cuts." The uncut version (171 Mins) has been released by Miramax on DVD. See more »


Soundtracks

Bygone Love
Composed by Jiping Zhao
© 1993 Varese Sarabande
See more »

User Reviews

 
A lavish, opulent, and intense film; bring your lunch
1 January 2000 | by DeeNine-2See 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

15 October 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Farewell My Concubine See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$69,408, 17 October 1993

Gross USA:

$5,216,888

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,977,012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (USA) (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Black and White (flashback sequence)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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