Posted on

#139- Farewell, My Concubine

Quick recap: This is the story of two men, Douzi and Shitou, whose friendship spans over 50 years in China.

best friends, being bros, doing bro things

best friends, being bros, doing bro things

Fun (?) fact: This is going to be a big one, so be prepared:

Ready?

China banned this movie. I KNOW. Crazy right?!

showing young boys being beaten and tortured was cool for China, but not the homosexual vibes going on between the two characters

showing young boys being beaten and tortured was cool for China, but not the homosexual vibes going on with Douzi

My thoughts: You guys, opera is badass. Seriously. I know next to nothing about it, and what little I do know concerns Italian opera. I think I was aware that China had their own productions but I wasn’t aware how, well, badass it all was. Chinese opera has the same themes as opera around the world: love, death, war, but they have an added element of acrobatics, amazing feats of strength and stunning costumes. Watching Farewell, My Concubine makes me want to hunt down a show and watch it live because although the movie was good, it’s not the same as watching the real thing.

The plot is straightforward enough: two friends stay close for over 50 years. But oh my god, the things these two men went through. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but China has some really messed up history. At times, it felt like the director was going for melodrama, with one tragedy occurring after another, but then again Farewell, My Concubine takes place during a very turbulent time in China’s history. Although this story is fictional, I imagine most of what the movie portrays is something someone lived through at some point.

One thing that really captured my attention was the depth of the characters. Douzi is the main character, whose story starts with his mother abandoning him at the training headquarters for the Peking Opera. He is initially rejected because of an extra finger on his hand, but his mother chopped it off and walked away. The training was brutal, with boys constantly being beaten with swords and expected to be perfect. Douzi is strong, but feminine, and so is trained to perform the Dan (female) roles. Throughout the movie, he maintains his feminine personality, to the point of being overly dramatic, like many people thought homosexuals acted back in 1993. Shitou is the more masculine of the two, but very caring. He has a very short temper but somehow endless patience for Douzi. I really enjoyed not having to pick a protagonist and root for one person because everyone in this film had faults.

the story is that a king is defeated in war. All his soldiers abandon him, except for his horse and concubine. The concubine stands until the very end and then kills herself with his sword.

the story is that a king is defeated in war. All his soldiers abandon him, except for his horse and concubine. The concubine stands until the very end and then kills herself with his sword.

Final review: 5/5. Many of the scenes were very difficult to watch but I was engrossed the entire 3 hours and at the end, it felt like it was almost too short of a film

Up next: Tongues Untied

Advertisements

Talk back to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s