Film Movement Classics is proudly commemorating Chen Kaige’s high-acclaimed fifth film, Farewell My Concubine, with a debut theatrical release in the U.S. next month. The release will comprise a 4K restoration of the 1993 film, complete with the original and and uncut version featuring late cinema legend Leslie Cheung, beginning with screenings at New York’s Film Forum on September 22, with additional markets to follow.
Read the announcement onward and do catch the newest trailer as well!
One of the most important motion pictures ever made, FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE is a film of undeniable cultural and social relevance. An innovative, modern production set amidst the deep-seated traditions and vivid tapestry of the Peking Opera, it was selected as one of the “100 Best Films in Global History” by Time magazine and remains the only Chinese-language film to ever win the Palme d’Or. In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Film Movement Classics is proud to bring the recently restored 4K version of this masterwork to North American theaters, where audiences in the U.S. and Canada will be able to see the complete, uncut film (20 minutes longer than its original Miramax theatrical release) on screen for the first time ever.
In Chen Kaige’s adaptation of the Lilian Lee novel, Cheng Dieyi (Leslie Cheung) and Duan Xiaolou (Zhang Fengyi) grow up enduring the harsh training of the Peking Opera Academy, where instructors regularly beat the students to instill in them the discipline needed to master the complex physical and vocal techniques of this ancient art. As the two boys mature, they develop complementary talents: Dieyi, with his fine, delicate features, assumes the female roles while Xiaolou plays masculine warlords. Their dramatic identities become real for Dieyi when he falls in love with Xiaolou, who fails to fully reciprocate Dieyi’s affections and marries a courtesan, Juxian (Gong Li), creating a dangerous, jealousy-filled romantic triangle. Spanning 50 years from the early 20th century to the tumultuous Cultural Revolution, Kaige’s passionate, exquisitely shot film captures the vast historical scope of a changing country (and the mesmerizing pageantry of the opera) while also revealing the intimate and touching details of a unique, tender, heartrending love story.
Kaige’s much acclaimed, long out-of-print masterpiece, also a Golden Globe Winner for Best Foreign Language Film and two-time Academy Award-nominated epic, features incredible lead performances from international stars Leslie Cheung, Zhang Fengyi and Gong Li, and was a critical and audience favorite upon its release. Of Farewell My Concubine, Vincent Canby of The New York Times said it’s “one of those very rare film spectacles that deliver just about everything the ads are likely to promise… a vastly entertaining movie. It’s also one of such recognizably serious concerns that you can sink into it with pleasure and count it a cultural achievement,” Roger Ebert exclaimed “Farewell My Concubine is a demonstration of how a great epic can function. I was generally familiar with the important moments in modern Chinese history, but this film helped me to feel and imagine what it was like to live in the country during those times. This is one of the year’s best films,” and Geoff Andrew of Time Out said “Appropriately operatic, Chen’s visually spectacular epic is sumptuous in every respect. Intelligent, enthralling, rhapsodic.”
“Farewell My Concubine is truly one of the most influential films of the 20th Century,” says Michael Rosenberg, President of Film Movement. “We are pleased to bring one of the landmark achievements of China’s Fifth Generation filmmaking movement to the big screen in this this incredible 4K restoration which not only brings the lavish sets and costumes to rich life as never before, but also restores Kaige’s original, unedited vision for his film.”
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.