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Chen Kaing's epic is grand in scope and presentation, and, bolstered by solid performances, the result is a film both horrifying and enthralling.
All Critics (36)
| Top Critics (11)
| Fresh (31)
| Rotten (5)
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.
This is entertaining filmmaking on a grand scale.
Seductively lensed but emotionally uninvolving.
Chen's remarkable movie uses an unusual love triangle to telescope more than 50 years of tumultuous Chinese history.
Appropriately operatic, Chen's visually spectacular epic is sumptuous in every respect. Intelligent, enthralling, rhapsodic.
One of those very rare film spectacles that deliver just about everything the ads are likely to promise.
This epic work by Chen Kaige becomes the stuff of instant: the creation of a prophet not honored in his own country, and cruelly cut for commercial puposes here in the Land of the Free.
For all its spectacle and drama, the film can feel more like tourism than tragedy.
Part history lesson, part love story, and part musical, here is a visually and thematically stunning epic from China that you will not forget.
With stunning set pieces and the dramatic backdrop of the revolution, Kaige captures perfectly the relationship between the two boys.
Gong Li is superb and Cheng Kaige's direction suitably grandiose.
the drama is cheesy, simplistic and too stodgy in its presentation to really hold up to its historic framing and epic sweep
The story of China joining the modern age seen through the lives of two principal performers of the Beijing Opera. Cruel, majestic, courageous, sweeping, and glorious, this is not to be missed. Of course, the singing can only be an acquired taste, but this is still about the story, magnificently told.
This sprawling epic depicts the friendship of two Chinese opera stars amidst the tumultuous Twentieth Century history of China.
What a grand film with beautiful art direction and cinematography to match. But the real highlights are the the two stars, Leslie Cheung and Fengyi Zhang who give tour de force performances. Their interaction is real and fraught with all the history the film depicts, which is no small matter; approximately fifty years of history are crammed into the film's three hours. Many of the scenes are built on subtlety and subtext with hinting looks and knowing glances, and lesser actors would not have been able to convey the nuances of the characters.
I have to trust in the film's verisimilitude when it comes to the opera scenes, which are occasionally too long and not as compelling as the off-stage troubles the actors create and are victim to. These sequences are educational, exposing Western viewers to Chinese opera, an area of performance most of us aren't accustomed to seeing.
Overall, Farewell, My Concubine is a remarkable achievement and a world-widening experience.
What does it take to become a star?
Wow! 92% of Flixsters and 88% of "critics" liked this one. Okay, I just have to preface this with two statements:
You all know how much I like Gong Li, right? She's the bomb!
And no, Walter, I did NOT add this to our little list of films I can't sit all the way through -- although I was tempted.
I never thought I'd write this, but . . . this lengthy little film became extremely tedious after Gong Li arrived on the scene.
What great potential this one had. When I think about folks like Jackie Chan having come up through the Bejing Opera training ranks, I just have to pray that his personal story had happier days.
Corporal punishment. I hear exhausted teachers joking about this all the time. I know they don't mean it, but they say: Yes, the laying on of the strap could be very useful" . . . I guess. In this movie, well, it's actually funny at times. Why? I have no idea. I am totally opposed to the idea of beating students. Ever. But really, what does it take to become a star? Six fingers? No, "freaks" are apparently out. Thank goodness for sharp knives . . . I guess.
Great until . . . sadly he says . . . Gong Li comes on the scene. From then on? Well, the initial tension between the two males is the great energy that pushes the first half of the film. I believe the introduction of a (??another??) love interest, with Gong Li, is supposed to heighten the tension between the two, but ironically, for me at least, she absolutely blocks up the energy, the flow, the qi/chi/ki/mana of the story.
Oh well, I bow to Walter's recommendation. Walter, what say you? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
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