Farewell My Concubine — Viewing Discussion

20170221045511We’ll view the film tonight, but it’ll be a full-period screening! As mentioned previously, though we don’t have time for an in-class discussion, comments may be shared here. Feel free to join a discussion, add thoughts, ideas, questions, comments and chat. Extra credit to all who participate…

4 thoughts on “Farewell My Concubine — Viewing Discussion

  1. For me I was really surprised at first that Dieyi had played a women. I was kind of curious if that was just this one case or if women weren’t allowed to be actors during this time. Along with that, I wonder how the audience would have reacted towards the homosexuality during the film because I know today homosexuality isn’t so highly looked upon in China.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do remember going back to the Shakespearean period women were not allowed to be actors or performers, I’m not sure how recently that changed in cultures outside the United States. But just like you said, I found it fascinating and hypocritical that homosexuality is shunned now, when just like ancient Greek, Roman and even western cultures always seemed to have closeted homosexuality especially the high class and elite of society. Even more interesting was the parallels they drew with actors and prostitution.

  2. The section of the movie that really stuck out to me was when Xiaolou, Dieyi, and Juxian all broke under stress when they and the Beijing Opera were questioned violently by the Red Guard. It showed the tearing apart of family lines and friendships. Although Xiao Si was their family, Xiaolou loved Juxian, and Dieyi loved Xiaolou, all of them ended up betraying each other in the end.

  3. The part I latched onto most was Deiyi’s adaptation to the performing troupe, almost like men adapt to the prison culture is a certain Stockholm syndrome and turn homosexual in order to survive. In Deiyi’s case to be betrayed by his own mother who was a prostitute and dressed him like a girl, beaten and tortured by the only adult authority figure, developed a resentment for prostitutes later in life all while performers and prostitutes were equally frowned upon in society. My struggle with logic came to a head in the climax before the final private practice where the Red Army made the members of the troupe face a public struggle, it was the mere fact that Xiaolou married Juxian, a former prostitute, that was being judged; not the fact that she left the life of living at a brothel and never returned, and not the fact that Xiaolou was not commended for being the reason she left. I also struggled with how Deiyi’s adopted son was not accused or judged of what I feel was the ultimate hypocritical act, he was an actor who played a concubine. It’s almost like the code of the US Navy that even when you have done something wrong, as long as you confess yourself and tell on others you won’t be punished.

Leave a Reply