Farewell My Concubine (1993)



I watched Farewell my Concubine on the same day that I finished reading The Chevalier and found it interesting to compare these two very different stories about the mimesis of femininity. Directed by Chen Kaige in 1993, the film resonates much more strongly, which is unsurprising considering its status as a modern classic. It takes a deep and moving look at the psychological toll of assuming another sex and, using one enduring friendship, tells the story of China’s tumultuous relationship with its own cultural history during the course of the 20th century. Moreover it was my introduction to traditional Chinese opera, which fascinated me of course, even though I feel that the singing is something of an acquired taste for Western ears.

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