Ba wang bie ji (Farewell My Concubine)
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Until Farewell, My Concubine (Ba Wang Bie Ji), not many people were aware that most members of the Peking Opera were originally orphans or illegitimate castaways with nowhere else to turn. Such is the case of the film's protagonists, Duan Xiaolou (Zhang Fengyi) and Cheng Dieyi (Leslie Cheung), two homeless outcasts, trained from childhood in the grueling rigors of the Opera by master Lu Qui. The film traces the 52-year friendship between Xiaolou and Dieyi, a friendship pockmarked with fiery conflicts and tender reconciliations. Though the delicate Dieyi specializes in female roles and the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The scenes in the Peking Opera School, where boys are caned for doing wrong or right, are no less horrifying than the later tableaus of public humiliation at the hands of the Maoists."
‑ Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"Chen's remarkable movie uses an unusual love triangle to telescope more than 50 years of tumultuous Chinese history."
‑ David Ansen, Newsweek
"With stunning set pieces and the dramatic backdrop of the revolution, Kaige captures perfectly the relationship between the two boys."
‑ Phillipa Bloom, Empire Magazine
"Visually impressive and emotionally complex, this historical epic, winner of the Cannes Festival Palme d'Or, relates the tumultuous history of China through the story of two friends who meet as children and become stars of the Peking Opera."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Visually stunning"
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"This is entertaining filmmaking on a grand scale."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Appropriately operatic, Chen's visually spectacular epic is sumptuous in every respect. Intelligent, enthralling, rhapsodic."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Gong Li is superb and Cheng Kaige's direction suitably grandiose."
‑ , Film4
"Well-acted but limited because its drama is emotionally uninvolving."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Luxurious, memorable scenes bring the past alive, though the editing is sometimes choppy and confusing."
‑ Stephen Farber, Movieline
"Seductively lensed but emotionally uninvolving."
‑ Derek Elley, Variety
"One of those very rare film spectacles that deliver just about everything the ads are likely to promise."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"the drama is cheesy, simplistic and too stodgy in its presentation to really hold up to its historic framing and epic sweep"
‑ Jay Antani, Cinema Writer
"Sweeping, self-important and only moderately stirring."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"A lush epic that traces 50 years in the lives of a pair of Beijing Opera stars."
‑ Christopher Null,
More reviews for Ba wang bie ji (Farewell My Concubine) on Rotten Tomatoes