Opera & Film: Farewell My Concubine

China | 1993 | 171 min. | Chen Kaige

April 2, 2024

Opera & Film

Two boys meet at an opera training school in Peking in 1924. Their resulting friendship will span nearly 70 years and endure some of the most troublesome times in China's history.

Presented in partnership with Seattle Opera. This screening is co-presented with Rose Jang of Seattle Hwa Sheng Chinese Opera Club, and will be preceded by a short contextual lecture and followed by an audience discussion and Q&A. A quick preview from the facilitator:

Chen Kaige’s classic tale sees decades of turbulent Chinese history through a lens of a pair of Peking Opera performers and their complicated relations. Using a 1918 Chinese opera of the same name within the narrative (dramatically and thematically) the filmmakers created an enduring cinematic portrait of their exceptional performance tradition and a strongly dramatized portrait of 20th-century China through the Cultural Revolution. 

SIFF year-round passes and vouchers are not valid for this screening.

Chen Kaige’s much acclaimed, long out of print masterpiece chronicles the rise of two young stars of the Beijing Opera House, their turbulent relationship, and ultimate downfalls. Beginning in 1924 and spanning nearly half a century, Farewell My Concubine’s sumptuous narrative is interwoven with moments from some of the most troublesome times in modern Chinese history, including Japan’s 1937 invasion though to the Chinese Cultural Revolution and its aftermath. A new 30th anniversary 4K restoration of the film’s original cut, the Palme d’Or winner, and two-time Academy Award-nominated epic features incredible lead performances from international stars Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang and Gong Li.

  • Director: Chen Kaige
  • Principal Cast: Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang, Gong Li, You Ge
  • Country: China, Hong Kong
  • Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 171 min.
  • Producer: HSU Feng
  • Screenplay: Lilian Lee, Lu Wei
  • Cinematographers: Gu Chang Wei
  • Editors: Pei Xiaonan
  • Music: Zhao Jiping
  • Language: Mandarin
  • International Sales: Film Movement Classics