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Farewell My Concubine (1993)

Ba wang bie ji (original title)
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1:15 | Trailer

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The story of two men, who met as apprentices in the Peking Opera, and stayed friends for over 50 years.

Director:

Kaige Chen

Writers:

Pik Wah Lee (novel) (as Lillian Lee), Pik Wah Lee (screenplay) (as Lillian Lee) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 20 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
Qi Lü Qi Lü ... Master Guan
Da Ying Da Ying ... Manager
You Ge ... Master Yuan
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
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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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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

Gross USA:

$5,216,888
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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

The version presented in the U.S. is different from the original, longer cut, that was distributed internationally. The following differences exist in the U.S. version:
  • The scene where Duan and Juxian are drinking after their wedding was originally directly after the wedding scene, rather than after the bloodletting at the Yuan-Cheng dinner.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Women of Questionable Morals (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A Tremendous Story on Many Levels
19 May 2002 | by bluzmanSee all my reviews

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.


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