in about 100 words or less
China 171m, Colour
Director: Chen Kaige; Cast: Leslie Cheung, Zhang Fengyi, Gong Li, Yin Zhi, Zhao Hailong, Ge You
Farewell My Concubine is the story of Dieyi and Xiaolou, two Peking opera performers whose lives are changed during the Japanese invasion and the subsequent Cultural Revolution in 1949. Beginning as homeless children under the strict supervision of a training school, the boys become friends and eventually successful performers. In taking a prostitute for a wife, Xiaolou distances himself from Dieyi, which strains their relationship. A controversial film that was banned in China, presumably for its portrayal of the brutal and chaotic purge of Chinese cultural traditions, Farewell my Concubine is a mesmerizing lesson in China’s recent history (Klaus Ming September 2016).