Farewell My Concubine [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Region free director's cut. Longer than UK release.
The panorama of 20th-century Chinese history swirls past two men, celebrated actors with their own decidedly specialised view of things. We first observe their lives as children at the Peking Opera training school, a brutal and demanding arena for future actors. While still in training, the effeminate Douzi is chosen to play the transvestite role and the masculine Shitou is chosen to play the royal role in a ritualised play about a king and a concubine. The actors are so good at this performance that they become identified with these roles for their entire careers; through World War II, through the takeover by the Communists, through the insanity of the Cultural Revolution, they are known for their famous parts. Leslie Cheung and Zhang Fengyi are powerful as the two men, and Gong Li (the beautiful leading lady of Raise the Red Lantern) plays the wife of the latter. The movie may be stronger on good old-fashioned melodrama than on profound conclusions, but boy, does it fill up the eyes. The director is Chen Kaige, one of the most talented members of China's "Fifth Generation" of filmmakers, whose daring subject matter (and sometimes bald international ambitions) have often irked the Chinese government. Indeed, though Farewell My Concubine shared the top prize at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival and snagged two Oscar nominations, it had difficulty gaining official approval from China. --Robert Horton, Amazon.com --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.
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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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