Monday, August 07, 2006

Farewell My Concubine

A Partial Film Review by James Berardinelli

Farewell My Concubine spans fifty-three years, presenting the lives of two men against the historical backdrop of a country in upheaval. Initially banned in China but shown to international acclaim, Chen Kaige's film is one of the year's true masterpieces. Deserving of its award at Cannes and of its prominent position in 1993's New York Film Festival, Farewell My Concubine is a motion picture experience that few will soon forget after leaving the theater.

In 1924 Beijing, the youthful Douzi and Shitou are brought together under the thumb of the strict master of a small acting troupe. It quickly becomes apparent that these are the most talented of the master's pupils, and he pushes them harder than his other students. Thirteen years later, their suffering has paid off. Douzi, now going by the name of Chen Dieyi (Leslie Cheung), and Shitou, called Duan Xiaolou (Zhang Fengyi), are major opera stars, and their production, "Farewell My Concubine" is nationally known. The two are inseparable, until the woman Juxian (Gong Li) comes between them.

Russell and I just recently saw this film and it was incredibly good. While "not for everybody" this film sets interesting characters into historical and cultural context in 20th century China. A must see for anyone who is interested in learning more about Chinese culture!


Blogger Salome's Mom said...

It is a great film, not only for it's scope but for it's humanity. It touched me deeply, glad you guys enjoyed it too.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006 9:50:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home