Farewell My Concubine

Leslie CheungFarewell My ConcubineCritical receptionPlotMusic and soundtrackHistorical backgroundDouzi, a boy endowed with feminine features, is abandoned by his prostitute mother to an all-boys Peking opera troupe supervised by Master Guan. He befriends Shitou, a student of the troupe.A few years later, a teenage Douzi is trained to play dan (female roles), while Shitou learns jing (painted face male roles). When practicing the play "Dreaming of the World Outside the Nunnery", Douzi accidentally substitutes the line "I am by nature a girl, not a boy" with "I am by nature a boy, not a girl," and is disciplined by the instructors. Douzi along with another student, Laizi, attempt to run away, but Douzi decides to pursue acting seriously after witnessing an opera performance. Upon returning, they find the whole troupe being punished for their desertion, and Douzi is beaten. As a result, Laizi hangs himself.An agent who provides funding for opera plays comes to the troupe to seek potentials. When Douzi repeats the same mistake in front of the agent, Shitou commands him to start over. Douzi finally whispers, "I am by nature a girl, not a boy". He delivers the entire monologue successfully, to the joy of the troupe, and secures the agent. The troupe is invited to perform for eunuch Zhang. Shitou and Douzi are brought to Zhang's house where they find a finely crafted sword, which Shitou promises to one day gift to Douzi, as the hero would do for his concubine. Zhang asks to meet Douzi in his room and sexually assaults him. Douzi does not mention this to anyone, but Shitou implicitly knows what happened. On their way home, Douzi adopts an abandoned baby, who later comes under Master Guan's training.