Farewell My Concubine


2h 36m 1993

Brief Synopsis

Film traces the 50-year homoerotic relationship between two Beijing opera actors who eventually reunite in Hong Kong.

Film Details

Also Known As
Adieu Ma Concubine, Ba wang bie ji, Bawang Beiji, Farewell To My Concubine, Farväl min konkubin
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1993
Distribution Company
MIRAMAX; Alternative Films; Concorde Films; Curzon Artificial Eye; MIRAMAX; Miramax Home Entertainment

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 36m

Synopsis

Film traces the 50-year homoerotic relationship between two Beijing opera actors who eventually reunite in Hong Kong.

Film Details

Also Known As
Adieu Ma Concubine, Ba wang bie ji, Bawang Beiji, Farewell To My Concubine, Farväl min konkubin
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1993
Distribution Company
MIRAMAX; Alternative Films; Concorde Films; Curzon Artificial Eye; MIRAMAX; Miramax Home Entertainment

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 36m

Award Nominations

Best Cinematography

1993

Best Foreign Language Film

1993

Articles

Leslie Cheung, 1956-2003


Leslie Cheung, the Chinese singer and actor who won international acclaim for his role as a homosexual opera singer who commits suicide in the Oscar-nominated Farewell My Concubine (1993), died after leaping from a hotel in Hong Kong on April 1. He was 46.

Cheung was born on September 12, 1956 in Hong Kong, the youngest of ten children. He was fascinated by cinema from an early age (his father was the tailor to screen legend William Holden) and following graduation from secondary school, he studied drama at Leeds University in Great Britain. Upon his return to Hong Kong, he entered in the 1976 ATV Asian Music Contest, and took second prize. Cheung used this opportunity to cultivate his first taste of stardom as one of Asia's most popular singers and a celebrity to Chinese-speaking people around the world.

His high profile in pop music led to some film work, which at first was light, teen fare. The turning point came when John Woo cast him as the rookie cop opposite Chow Yun-fat in the wildly popular Hong Kong action flick A Better Tomorrow (1986). The film's success allowed Cheung to expand his film range and his next role was as an opium-smoking playboy in Stanley Kwan's Rouge (1987), a romantic ghost story that fluctuated between the Hong Kong of the '30s and the '80s. That film helped Cheung present his versatility as a romantic leading man as well as his skill at action sequences.

The '90s saw Cheung steadily improve as an actor with some varied roles: a cunning jewel thief in John Woo's slick suspense drama, Once a Thief (1990); a suave villain in Wong Kar-Wai's Days of Being Wild (1991); and his extraordinary star turn as the gay, female-impersonating Chinese opera singer Cheng Dieyi in Chen Kaige's brilliant historical drama Farewell My Concubine (1993). His portrayal of Cheng, who experiences bitterness and regret throughout his life, and is driven to suicide by a failed love affair, was one of great sensitivity, and an incandescent charisma that few knew he possessed. The film won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and rightly earned Cheung international acclaim.

Cheung continued to tackle interesting parts after the success of Concubine: a depraved opium addict in another stylish film by Chen Kaige, Temptress Moon (1996); a gutsy performance as the vituperative Ho Po-wing, one of a pair of gay Chinese lovers on holiday in Buenos Aires in Wong Kar-Wai's sexually explicit Happy Together (1997); and most recently, a man possessed by a dead girlfriend who tries to lure him into jumping to his death (another eerie parallel to his own suicide) in Chi-Leung Law's horror film Inner Senses (2002), which earned him a best actor at this last Sunday's Hong Kong Film Awards. He is survived by numerous family members.

by Michael T. Toole
Leslie Cheung, 1956-2003

Leslie Cheung, 1956-2003

Leslie Cheung, the Chinese singer and actor who won international acclaim for his role as a homosexual opera singer who commits suicide in the Oscar-nominated Farewell My Concubine (1993), died after leaping from a hotel in Hong Kong on April 1. He was 46. Cheung was born on September 12, 1956 in Hong Kong, the youngest of ten children. He was fascinated by cinema from an early age (his father was the tailor to screen legend William Holden) and following graduation from secondary school, he studied drama at Leeds University in Great Britain. Upon his return to Hong Kong, he entered in the 1976 ATV Asian Music Contest, and took second prize. Cheung used this opportunity to cultivate his first taste of stardom as one of Asia's most popular singers and a celebrity to Chinese-speaking people around the world. His high profile in pop music led to some film work, which at first was light, teen fare. The turning point came when John Woo cast him as the rookie cop opposite Chow Yun-fat in the wildly popular Hong Kong action flick A Better Tomorrow (1986). The film's success allowed Cheung to expand his film range and his next role was as an opium-smoking playboy in Stanley Kwan's Rouge (1987), a romantic ghost story that fluctuated between the Hong Kong of the '30s and the '80s. That film helped Cheung present his versatility as a romantic leading man as well as his skill at action sequences. The '90s saw Cheung steadily improve as an actor with some varied roles: a cunning jewel thief in John Woo's slick suspense drama, Once a Thief (1990); a suave villain in Wong Kar-Wai's Days of Being Wild (1991); and his extraordinary star turn as the gay, female-impersonating Chinese opera singer Cheng Dieyi in Chen Kaige's brilliant historical drama Farewell My Concubine (1993). His portrayal of Cheng, who experiences bitterness and regret throughout his life, and is driven to suicide by a failed love affair, was one of great sensitivity, and an incandescent charisma that few knew he possessed. The film won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and rightly earned Cheung international acclaim. Cheung continued to tackle interesting parts after the success of Concubine: a depraved opium addict in another stylish film by Chen Kaige, Temptress Moon (1996); a gutsy performance as the vituperative Ho Po-wing, one of a pair of gay Chinese lovers on holiday in Buenos Aires in Wong Kar-Wai's sexually explicit Happy Together (1997); and most recently, a man possessed by a dead girlfriend who tries to lure him into jumping to his death (another eerie parallel to his own suicide) in Chi-Leung Law's horror film Inner Senses (2002), which earned him a best actor at this last Sunday's Hong Kong Film Awards. He is survived by numerous family members. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the 1994 Film Critic's Circle of Australia Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Named best foreign film of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle (1993). In addition, Gong Li was named best supporting actress.

Named best foreign film of the year by the National Board of Review (1993).

Named best foreign film of the year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (1993).

Co-winner, along with Jane Campion's "The Piano" (New Zealand/1993), of the Palme d'Or at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.

Released in United States Fall October 15, 1993

Expanded Release in United States October 22, 1993

Expanded Release in United States October 29, 1993

Expanded Release in United States November 5, 1993

Released in United States on Video September 21, 1994

Released in United States September 1993

Released in United States October 1993

Released in United States September 1996

Shown at Boston Film Festival September 13-23, 1993.

Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals (Special Presentation) September 9-18, 1993.

Shown at New York Film Festival October 1-17, 1993.

Film was banned by the Chinese government shortly after its release in Shanghai in July 1993.

Actor John Lone was attached to the project at one point.

Expanded Release in United States October 22, 1993

Expanded Release in United States October 29, 1993

Expanded Release in United States November 5, 1993

Released in United States on Video September 21, 1994

Released in United States September 1993 (Shown at Boston Film Festival September 13-23, 1993.)

Released in United States September 1993 (Shown at Telluride Film Festival September 3-6, 1993.)

Released in United States September 1993 (Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals (Special Presentation) September 9-18, 1993.)

Released in United States October 1993 (Shown at New York Film Festival October 1-17, 1993.)

Released in United States September 1996 (Shown in New York City (Anthology Film Archives) as part of program "Best of the Indies" September 5-15, 1996.)

Released in United States Fall October 15, 1993

The Republic of Hong Kong