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11 Reviews
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should be responsible for his own fate
In this movie based on Lilian Lee's masterpiece, Chen Kaige has mainly developed the evolution of the 'sentimental' link between two actors (one gay one) through the turbulent history of China in the 20th century, with the fall of the Empire, the Japanese occupation, the civil war, the communist victory and the Cultural Revolution. The Chinese opera "Farewell My...
Published 23 months ago by Luc REYNAERT

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5 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tape freezes at half way point!
This was looking like the great movie it had been reviewed by critics as being, at least till it got to about the half-way mark. Then for reasons that eluded me it stopped dead in its tracks, froze, and nothing I tried doing would advance it any further. I ejected the DVD dozens of times, advanced forward to that relevant chapter, but nothing doing. I tried skipping that...
Published on 31 Dec. 2011 by Fred Jansohn


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should be responsible for his own fate, 30 May 2013
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Farewell My Concubine [All Region] [import] (DVD)
In this movie based on Lilian Lee's masterpiece, Chen Kaige has mainly developed the evolution of the 'sentimental' link between two actors (one gay one) through the turbulent history of China in the 20th century, with the fall of the Empire, the Japanese occupation, the civil war, the communist victory and the Cultural Revolution. The Chinese opera "Farewell My Concubine" functions marvelously as a leitmotiv. The sentimental relationship between the two actors, and later with the lover of one of them played superbly by Gong Li, will be seriously shaken during the political earthquakes. Although 'everyone should be responsible for his own fate', everybody, if he isn't strong enough physically or psychologically, could be forced to betray his friend by false accusations, particularly during violent public interrogations.
The political message of the film can be summarized by the slogan: 'Cursed are the tyrants who plunge their people into misery.'

With unforgettable scenes, like the abandonment of a child by his mother, the rigorous training of the young aspirant-actors, the public political trials or the meeting of 'old friends', Chen Kaige translated perfectly in moving pictures (with sublime color grading) Lilian Lee's text.

Nevertheless, Lilian Lee's book transcends all personal relationships with her sublime meditations on art, the artist, individual life, love, death and politics.
One example from the book: in the ordinary world, victory and defeat, life or death are only during the time of a wink. But art and artists are not part of this world, where politics with its slogan 'kill or be killed' only sow pain, suffering and misery.
Through art, the spectators escape during the spectacle for a few hours the harsh reality of life and enter into a world of dreams and deepest emotions, which are embodied in the actors (of Chinese operas).
This movie is a must see for all lovers of world cinema.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can still remember seeing this film years ago . . ., 10 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Farewell My Concubine [All Region] [import] (DVD)
So, I bought the DVD when my video tape wore out. I was delighted to find it. What has interested me the most about this film is the way I see different things in the film over the years . . . A piece of art which changes its "meaning" as you see it again and again, over a long period of time, is a great piece of art. I guess that's the definition of a "classic".
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5.0 out of 5 stars A tale that haunts your dreams.., 30 May 2014
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This review is from: Farewell My Concubine [All Region] [import] (DVD)
A beautiful and haunting love story - a childhood love that never fails. This is a beautiful scripted, beautifully acted piece of work. I saw it many years ago and it haunted my memory. From the awfulness of their upbringing - the cruelty and abuse - two young actors become the stars of classical Chinese theatre. It is one of the most sensitive explorations of the meaning of gender and gay love and the tragic outcomes that arise from absence of choice. It goes to places that 'La Vie En Rose' never touched. I would say more but I will spoil the story. Interwoven with their lives are the political traumas of an awakening state - China's revulsion at the past, and eventually its embracing of its culture in the Cultural Revolution. There is politics, colour, noise, love and performing arts. What's not to like but there are no cheesy endings here.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a good work film, 23 July 2014
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This review is from: Farewell My Concubine [All Region] [import] (DVD)
All I can say is epic. Not one of gong li's orchen kaige's best works but still epic. If you love both of them watch the emperor and the assasin- now that is EPIC,one of his best works by a clear mile. This film however still shows the importance of keeping traditional things such as the stories inspired by the legends and myths as kept alive by so many opera companies. Yet it comes to terms with the shift in the world of the rising power of the working people therefore it seems the so called grand opulent operas of the myths etc are a thing of the past as they are effectively outlawed by the new state.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely entrancing and moving tale of life between two Beijing ..., 8 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Farewell My Concubine [All Region] [import] (DVD)
Absolutely entrancing and moving tale of life between two Beijing Opera performers and one woman from the turbulent time before the Japanese invasion to communism and the 1970s. The costumes were elaborate and the actors were superb. An epic of a movie lasting 3 hours long. DVD is all region, in Mandarin with English or Korean subtitles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wrenching drama with China's 20th century upheavals as backdrops., 10 May 2013
By 
Anthony H West (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Farewell My Concubine [All Region] [import] (DVD)
As China emerges as a world power, it is probably quite key for us to understand what led to the birth of this great communist (sort-of) nation.

Enjoy a romantic, ambiguous ride through the great years of internal tumult, Japanese occupation and then the birth of communism in this great land.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Particularly love the haunting sound of chinese opera, 30 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Farewell My Concubine [All Region] [import] (DVD)
A film I have been looking for a long time. Saw it on tv once but didnt know what it was called. Tracked it down now. Particularly love the haunting sound of chinese opera, and a very good story too.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars identity, 15 July 2010
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This review is from: Farewell My Concubine [All Region] [import] (DVD)
This is a beautiful, sumptuously filmed epic which tackles a number of difficult issues around gender, identity and love. It hasn't dated as it deals with universal issues. Watch it if you can.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 20 July 2014
By 
PHaire (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Farewell My Concubine [All Region] [import] (DVD)
Brilliant if you're interested in Chinese culture, particularly Beijing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars like it!, 29 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Farewell My Concubine [All Region] [import] (DVD)
Very nice film.
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