These are our rules we must learn them well. From ancient times man has needed a skill. If you devote yourself to this you’ll get paid off.” The lines speak to the arduous journey the boys have made. Rather than merely indicating the passage of time, this montage sequence strives to appeal to the viewer on a visceral level so that at the sequence’s conclusion the viewer feels a portion of the characters’ emotional transformation. After the conclusion of the montage sequence, the film begins to explore what will become one of its central thematic concerns – namely, gender identity. The Headmaster disciplines Dieyi after he refuses to subsume his identity to that of a female for the purpose of the opera. Kaige explores Dieyi’s transformation to a feminine identity in considerable depth and the longevity of this exploration grants the viewer a thorough feel for the process. After the Dieyi escapes and returns, there is a scene where he is situated in a chair in front of the headmaster. Dieyi continues to recite the male lines and then begins striking himself in the face with his hands that have been bloodied perhaps out of punishment for his resilience. The blood splashes on his face, symbolically indicating the self-destruction of his masculine identity. This scene is edited with another scene where the boys are standing outside reciting lines – by now the viewer recognizes this cyclical recurrence as indicating maturation and transformation – and then cuts to the visiting Guan who is ready to audition the boys. . Farewell My Concubine and Frequent Use of Editing Juxtaposition to Demonstrate the Characters Tragic and Splendid Lives.
Barsam, Richard. Looking at Movies, 3rd Edition. New York: Norton, 2009.
Kaige. Chen Farewell My Concubine.
Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers. Ed. Michael Berry. \
New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.
Wah Lau, Jenny Kwok ‘"Farewell My Concubine": History, Melodrama, and Ideology in
Contemporary Pan-Chinese Cinema’ Film Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Autumn, 1995), pp. 16-27 University of California Press
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