Essay on Farewell My Concubine

Essay on Farewell My Concubine

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The 1993 movie directed by Kaige Chen, Farewell My Concubine, addresses the Chinese political issues during the war against Japan via interpersonal issues of an opera troupe of young male actors. The movie is as long as it is engaging. With two orphan boys who are raised to act in an Opera for their entire lives, dedication obtains a whole new meaning. Dieyi's training to act as a woman and to reflect femininity in his whole life increases the dissension that is observed within the film as well as its connections to the politics of China. The use of ghastly sound effects, close-up cinematographic techniques, and military involvement combine together in this movie to create a devastatingly dramatic experience.
At the beginning of Farewell My Concubine, two male actors walk towards the camera filming them and into a dark arena. They are welcomed by a faceless voice in the shadows and are given a stage light to perform. Once the stage light appears, the scene changes into a sepia-toned showcase of Douzi’s childhood and his introduction to the young opera troupe of Beijing. Douzi, a young male with a prostitute for a mother has quite an unfortunate upbringing. This is not revealed until his mother goes to see the master of the opera troupe to get her son enrolled.
While Douzi’s mother visits the troupe, the punishments that the kids go through by the hands of their masters are exhibited callously. The kids are beaten with the sides of swords and made to perform physically strenuous tasks. The main master Guan says that, they are not human beings, if they do not perform in the opera and that cliques are forbidden in the troupe. When the mother finally gets to speak with Master Guan, he informs her that her son will not b...


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...udience of Dieyi’s opera as well as Dieyi himself. His aforementioned fate as a concubine leads him to accept singing for the Japanese, and this is seen as traitorous to the Chinese government. The Japanese never beat him and it furthered his performance for them. It shed light on his previous punishments by Master Guan and how he did not want to perform at first. It seems as if the director of the movie, wanted to indirectly show how the treatment of people in China by the Japanese was much better than that of the Old Society.
The movie ends during the time of the Cultural Revolution in 1966 established by the Communist People’s Liberation Army. In the last chapters, members of the Old Society betray each other after the New Society takes over. Dieyi commits to his fate and kills himself with the concubine sword, which determines the fall of the Old Society.

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Essay on Farewell My Concubine

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