Farewell My Concubine (1993) Script

Who are you?

We're with the opera troupe.

Oh, I didn't recognize you!

I'm a great fan ofyou both.

Is that so? Thank you.

It's been over twenty years since you performed together, hasn't it?

Twenty-one. Twenty-two.

Yes, twenty-two years.

And it's been ten years since we last saw each other.

Eleven. Eleven years.

That's right, eleven years. Yes.

It's due to the Gang of Four.

Yeah, that's right.

Things are better now.

That's for sure.

Everything's fine now.

Please, wait here a moment. I'll go turn on the lights.

Farewell, My Concubine -

Beijing, 1924

Yanhong, is that you?

I've really missed you.


Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the show!

Laizi is trying to run away again. Brat! See how far you get!

Quick, go catch him!

I'm sorry. Gentlemen, please be patient.

Trash! How dare you show yourselves around here?

Just as sure as my name is Shitou, I'll give you something to look at.

What are you screaming for? I haven't even said hello yet!

You're a disgrace to the opera troupe.

You couldn't even play a monkey right.

Thought you'd get away with that brick act, didn't you?

It's garbage.

Dare you run again!

Sharpen your knives.

This child isn't fated to be an actor, not with that extra finger.

He have a good face, but he can't.

I can afford to raise him, but he's getting too big to keep at the brothel.

If only you take him,

you can do anything you like.

Don't look down on us.

Don't be foolish. Prostitutes and actors...

...are equally despised by society. Just go away.

Ma, my hands are freezing. They feel like ice.


Get away from us, you son ofa whore!

It's from the whore house! Drop it on the floor!

Drop it on the floor! You son of a whore!

It's cold.

Are you bullying him?

Come over here. Sleep with me.

You're really something.

Laizi, go snuggle up with the Little Monk.


It's so cold outside...

The piss froze on the tip ofmy dick. I nearly turned a somersault!

If you belong to the human race, you go to the opera.

Pigs and dogs don't listen to opera. If you don't go to the opera, you're not a human being.

And where there's opera, there's work for us actors!

Stop squealing!

Straighten that back!

If you think you're above everyone else, you'll learn the hard way.

This isjust the beginning.

Don't worry, Douzi.

We're already halfway through.

Shitou, are you helping someone cheat? I didn't notice what was on the floor.

Bullshit! Get me my sword.

And hurry up!

Get up!

Don't you have something to say?

Yes. Forming cliques is prohibited and we'll be punished.

Not fucking scared of anything!

From the time opera began, it's never enjoyed such popularity as it does today.

You're lucky to be part ofit!

We are!

Heavens make us die, not due to the wars or anything else.

I've been practicing Kung Fu to keep myselfwarm.

It's cool outside, quite cool.

But I've become a man offire. Get away from me.

I am so strong I can uproot the mountains My courage is renowned I've fallen on bad times I am so strong...

My courage is renowned I've fallen on bad times

These are our rules. We must learn them well.

From ancient times, man has needed a skill.

If you devote yourselfto this, you'll get paid off.

Pushing yourselfhard is the only way to become famous one day.

Now go off and practice!

Let's hear Fleeing by Night.

I look back at the Celestial Court and hurry on wards in fight Heedless of... heedless of... Heedless ofwhat?

Heedless ofloyalty and filial piety.

I am so strong I can uproot the mountains I've fallen on bad times Yet even my horse won't run away to save itself And my beloved concubine What shall I do about her Excellent, not a word out ofplace.

Give me your hand.

So you'll remember to do the same as well the next time.

At sixteen, I am a nun My hair is shorn at youth's prime Go on.

I am by nature a boy...

You are by nature a girl!

I'll punish you, Laizi!

You still can't get it right, can you?

Why can't you be right?

Don't hit me! I won't do it again!

It's your turn.

I am... I am by nature...

Spit it out!

I am by nature a boy...

Is a nun a male or a female?


You really are in character. You can't even tell male from female.

I... I am by nature a boy.

You've forgotten everything the master has taught you!

Do it again, and I'll beat you within an inch ofyour life.

Don't make the same mistake ever!

You'd better remember this.

Lfby chance I'm beaten to death tomorrow,

you shall take the three copper coins hidden under my pillow.


Don't water your hand!

Douzi, in a few days, you'll be initiated into the troupe.

Just pretend you're a girl, and don't mess up the lyrics again.

Laizi, have you ever eaten pea cakes? What's the big deal about pea cakes?

How about millet rolls? Basin cakes?

They're as fucking special as dog farts.

So what do you like?

There's nothing yummier than sugar-coated haws.

If I make it big, I'll eat sugar-coated haws every day for dinner.

Don't look at us like that. We're not sticks ofhaws.

Laizi, you're drooling!

Laizi, what the hell are you doing? Wow, so many big kites!

Go back! Go back!


Run for it!

Come back!


Don't forget the money under my pillow.

You're worthless. Get out ofmy sight!

Where'd you get that?

Forget about Shitou. I'm spending your money now.

Ten haws on each stick. I'll give you two.

What's wrong with you? I have to pee real bad.

Not in the middle ofthe street.

The stars have arrived! Here, come this way.

My dear sir, this is like a visit from heaven!

All you need to do is sneeze and you get a standing ovation.

We'll be lucky ifno one is trampled to death in there!

I'll sit on your shoulders for a while, then you sit on mine.

The King of Chu!

What does it take to become a star?

How many beatings?

When will I ever enjoy such fame?

You're pissing all over me! Are you nuts?

I knew you'd go back. You couldn't live without Shitou.

We're going to get a taste ofthe sword. But I'm not afraid.

For me, it's like having an itch scratched.

I've eaten my sugar-coated haws.

I'm a fucking star already.

You little runts, you've come back after all.

I deserve it!

Good! I deserve it! Good! I deserve it!

Why the hell did you let them go?

Die you runts!

Skipping class and running away must be punished!

Master, I'll never do it again.

Please let me go!

You let them get away? Assholes!

How dare you!

Get him! Master, I'll never do it again.

I wouldn't dare do it again, master.

Master, it was my fault.

Beat me instead!

Didn't you think you'd get yours?

I'll beat you to death!

Douzi, speak! Say something!

Beg for mercy! Come on!

Speak! Beg for mercy!

Let's just disband the troupe!

You're killing Douzi!

I won't let you do this!

Master! Laizi, he...

This opera tells the story ofthe war between the Chu and the Han kings.

What sort of a man was the King of Chu?

A peerless and invincible hero; a bold and resourceful general capable of defeating vast armies.

But fate wasn't on his side.

At Gaixia he was outwitted by the Han king.

As they prepared for battle, Han's troops sang victory songs because of Han's military tactics, the Chu armies fed in a great panic, had their country taken by Han.

Even the king was weeping.

No matter how resourceful you are, you can't fight against fate.

The king had once been all-powerful, but in the end, all he had was one woman and one horse.

He tried to get his steed to run away, but it wouldn't go.

He wanted his concubine to free, but she wouldn't leave.

For the very last time, Concubine Yu poured wine for her king, danced for him with a sword; and then cut her throat with it, to keep her fidelity.

There's a lesson in this story. You better keep that in mind.

Each person is responsible for his or her own fate.

I am so strong I can uproot the mountains My courage is renowned I've fallen on bad times Yet even my horse won't run away to save itself

Old Man Zhang has commissioned you to hire an opera troupe.

I truly congratulate you.

With your patronage, the children will have new clothes to wear.

Good opera, however, is not so simple.

When he was a palace eunuch, Old Man Zhang attended operas with the Empress Dowager.

I could lose a lot of respect...

...if anything goes wrong.

You realize that ifthe performance doesn't make the grade...

This kid's got something. How long has he been in training?

Douzi, come here and pay your respects.

He's got a nice little figure too.

Can you sing any old-style operas?

Yes, two.

Fleeing by Night is for male and Outside the Nunnery is for female.

Let's hear a bit ofthe latter.

At sixteen, I am a nun My hair is shorn at youth's prime Yet I am by nature a boy not a girl Why...

Mr. Na, I am terribly sorry!

He's usually very good. Master Guan, I'll see you some other time.

You idiot! Idiot!

Open your mouth. Open it!

You've screwed it up for all ofus!

Such a fool!

I'll teach you.

I am by nature a girl, not...

At sixteen, I am a nun My hair is shorn at youth's prime Yet I am by nature a girl not a boy Why must I wear these sexless robes I see the joyful couples pass in their splendid brocades Despite myself desire burns in my heart Year after year All over the land

I've followed my king on his military campaigns enduring the wind and frost and hard toil Our people are fallen into abyss of misery

Master Guan, come here.

Mr. Zhang, wish you health and longevity.

The king is here.

Your highness.

The people have suffered untold hardship and pain...

This is Old Man Zhang's...

...special reward for two kids. Take this.

Yes, sir!

The Chu King would have won with this sword. If I were emperor, you'd be the queen.

Someday, I'll give you a same one.

Careful, kids!

That's a real sword!

No need to run.

We're coming.

What's wrong? The sweat stings the scratches.

Have them go together.

No way. It's an old rule around here.

Master Guan, I'm sorry ifyou don't understand.

The concubine has to die one way or the other. Isn't it so?


Douzi! Douzi!

What year is this year?

This is... this is 1932. No!

This is still the Qing dynasty!

Come over here.

I... I want to find Shitou. I need to pee.

Pee into this.

Don't waste it. Just pee into this.

Come to me!


What happened to you?

Talk to me!

Douzi. Fate has determined each of our lots.

Leave him to his destiny.

All right, look at the camera!

Gentlemen, you have done grandly for yourselves.

You look so dignified and stunning in any style of clothing.

That's it!

Oppose Japan's invasion ofNorth China!

Damn! Those students again.

Down with Japanese imperialism!

The year 1937, the eve of Lugou Bridge Incident

Aren't they the opera actors?

Do you have any feeling for your country?

How can you put on makeup and sing opera at a time like this?

We're Chinese too!

Look at us, goddamn it!

That's true. We're all Chinese.

We Chinese mustn't fight among ourselves!

We're all Chinese here!

All Chinese here!

How dare they pretend to be patriotic!

Why don't they go out and fight the Japanese soldiers?

Why don't they actually do something?

They're penniless, you know, for women and marriage.

Just want to find a way out.

The one who was yelling the loudest would make a good actor.

Remember the first time we performed Farewell, My Concubine?

It was long ago. Only you remember that kind ofthing.

I know.

It was for Old Man Zhang, remember?

It was the lucky day for you.

It's now a coffin shop.

I went there yesterday.

I know you've been looking for the sword, but it's long gone.

Deyie! Deyie!

Sugar-coated haws for sale!

We've got huge crowds ofpeople.

They're craning their necks to catch a glimpse oftheir idols.

Even Master Yuan is here to see you. It's a great honor for us.

Go away! Go away!

Mr. Duan.

They're becoming impatient, please hurry!

Trust me.

They won't feel like they are wasting their money.

Year after year All over the land

I've followed my king on his military campaigns

Has he blurred the distinction between male and female?

You be the judge.

Your highness,

I've caused you...

...so much grief.

Master Yuan has come to see us tonight.

I know. I sang so loudly, I drowned out the horns.

I'll show him how great we are without his patronage.

But Duan... Don't worry.

At key moments, I squeezed my waist with my hands, helping me raise my voice.

Here? No.


Stop it!

Master Yuan!

It's an honor that you come to see us. You deserve this.

I've got a gift for you.

The Empress Dowager herself...

...never bestowed such a stunning gift upon her favorite actors.

Master Yuan, how can Dieyi be worthy ofyour favor?

Farewell, My Concubine has a long history.

It evolved from the old-style opera, Story ofthe Precious One.

Many famous actors have failed in performing this.

I've never seen an actor as great as you are.


For a moment or two, I was so entranced.

I believed Concubine Yu had actually come back to life.

Master Duan.

When the king returns to camp and meets Concubine Yu, custom has it...

Excuse me.

He shall take seven steps. You took fivejust now.

Lfthe King of Chu fails to bear himselfwith majestic dignity, he's little better than a gangster putting on airs!

Master Yuan, you are a master ofthe theater arts.

You are an expert in all the varieties and facets of opera.

I may probably be wrong as you said.

What you said was like the Bible of Opera.

Please give us the benefit ofyour advice and criticism.

If it's not beneath you, I'd like to invite you to my home for some wine.

There is still so much to be said... I'm terribly sorry, Master Yuan.

I have another drinking engagement...

...with a courtesan.

With a courtesan... Nice taste you have.

And Mr. Cheng?

Then we'll share our thoughts later.


Thank you for coming.

Dieyi, I gotta go.

Girls! Come entertain our guest!

Mr. Duan, this way please.

Long time no see. Mr. Duan, we've missed you.

I'd like to see Miss Juxian.

How shall I put it? You should've said that earlier.

She's not here at the moment. She's out, with other guests.

What can be done? Let me find someone else for you.

Caifeng, come keep Mr. Duan company.


Tell me the truth. Where is Juxian?

Upstairs? Or down?

The phoenix roosts on the highest branches for sure.

But she's pretty high-class. You reckon she'll go for you?

You bet! I specialize in high-class.

Miss Juxian...

Why don't you go there and see her?

How dare you!

Cut it out!

What can you do?

Cut it out!

Cut it out or I'lljump!

Jump! I'll follow you.

No matter where you are, even after death, I'll be there for you.


These guys are revolting! They were forcing me to drink wine from their mouths.

Come on, assholes. Jump! Now it's your turn!

Bastards! Jerks!

All right, let's go!

Oh, it's Mr. Duan!

Listen, we're all here to have a good time, spending lots of money.

So let's not pick fights, ok?

Come on.

Keep out ofit, and get lost.

Don't get upset.


Juxian, you are to blame.

Didn't you tell these gentlemen today's a special day...

...that we decided to get engaged?

That's right!

We are to get engaged.

Have a toast to me!

Aren't you going to congratulate me?

You think you can fool us?

Gentlemen, today is my happiest day; allow me to drink to all ofyou.

And now, I'll give you something...

...to sober you up.

Mr. Cheng!

I heard you got into a fight at the House of Blossoms.

You know the old story, Pan Jinlian's husband and Ximen Qing?

Does this means there's a Pan Jinlian in your life?

What are you saying? What do you want to hear?

I was just fooling around. It's not serious.

Dieyi, come with me sometime. You'll see what it's like.

I'm sorry. I really am!

I wasn't thinking. Itjust came out.

I'm a damn fool.

Have you forgotten the secret of our success?

Don't you remember our teacher's words?

What words?

Stick together until the day you die.

I want you to be with me...


How about we staying together forever?

We've come this far together, haven't we? It's not enough. Should be a lifetime.

One day, even one second less, makes it less than a lifetime!

Dieyi, you really are obsessed.

Your obsession with the stage carries over into your everyday life.

But how are we going to get through the days and make it in the real world?

Give me a hand with my makeup.

Concubine Yu,

the song was sung everywhere, our country is being ruined by the enemy.

Go live out this goddamn fantasy, then.

My king...

I'll tell you even though it's heart breaking.

Today is the day we say goodbye.

You think you'll become a lady ofvirtue?

Wake up!

You think you can get away with your past?

You think the wolves and tigers won't recognize your scent anymore?

I am so, so scared.

Let me tell you something. Once a whore, always a whore.

Keep that in your mind.

Fine. See you around.

Mr. Yuan has presented you with a pennant. "The Beauty ofthe Age."

What are you doing here?

What is it, Juxian?

Come on in! No, you come out!

What are you doing barefoot on such a cold day?

What happened?

The House of Blossoms...

...won't keep an engaged woman.

Mr. Cheng.

Come. Let me introduce you.

This is Miss Juxian.

This is my stage brother, Dieyi. You may have seen him as Concubine Yu.

Xiaolou speaks ofyou so often, I feel like we were old friends.

Miss Juxian... Excuse me, I must be going.

Xiaolou, at the House of Blossoms, ifyou hadn't saved me, l"d be six feet under by now.

Remember, it was you who proposed to me.

I'm used to hardship. If you take me in, l"ll do whatever you want me to do.

If you ever abandon me, I'll just kill myself as ifyou never saved me.

What a dragon lady!

Truely dramatic!

When's the performance of Candle-lit-night in the Bridal Chamber?

Tonight. Yes!

Hold on.

I want a formal engagement ceremony to which the entire company is invited.

I want to enter your home as a proper bride.

You don't think I plan to cut corners, do you?

The engagement ceremony will be tonight. We request the pleasure ofyour company.

Miss Juxian, where did you study opera?

Me? What makes you think that?

Just the way you overplayed your part.

Dieyi, she's going to be your sister-in-law.

Also, at the engagement party tonight...

I haven't learned the opera Gangster King and His Whore.

Our teacher never taught us that one. What are you talking about?

Dieyi, Xiaolou has spoken good ofyou. Always.

Don't leave!

Where are you going?

None ofyour business.


Please, don't go.

Master Yuan invites us tonight. He wants to become our patron.

Who does he think he is? No one tells me what to do!

I'm just a fake king. You really are Concubine Yu.

Let him patronize you ifyou like.

Xiaolou! Xiaolou!

This feather headpiece is rare and precious.

The feathers are collected from the tails oflive peacocks.

That's the secret to keep the feathers soft and colorful.

I'll be waiting for you.

In this world, there is foulness in both men and women.

Only the Bodhisattva embodies both male and female essences.

Such ecstasy!

This sword has a history.

It once belonged to the eunuch Zhang.

When Zhang went bankrupt, I went to great trouble to acquire it.

I can see from this, you're old acquaintances.

Amazing! One searches far and wide for something...

Like it? I...

Let's not have any vulgar talk of money between us.

A precious sword is the classic gift for one's most intimate friend.

Mr. Cheng.

Will you be my most intimate friend?

The soldiers of Han have invaded The songs of Chu can be heard on all sides

Since the good king has lost his fighting spirit

why should his humble concubine value her life

Don't! It's a real sword!

A smile ushers in the spring.

A tear does darken the world.

How truly does this befit you.

Only you are possessed of such charm.

Mr. Cheng, I knew you'd come.

We saved a seat at the head table for you.

You came back?

It's a good thing you showed up.

Have a look at this.

What a sword!

How did you acquire this out of nowhere tonight?

Dieyi, you've come so late.

You better drink up! Yes, drink up!

My gratitude, Miss Juxian.

Dieyi? Mr. Cheng!

Xiaolou, from now on, we'll no longer perform together.

Mr. Cheng, you can't do this!

This is terrible!

Japanese troops have entered the city!

Dieyi? Where is Dieyi?

I'll fill up your glass with finest wine.

So what is this wine called?

Wine of overnight drinking.

Fill it up. Who will be serving me tonight?

You shall make it as Dieyi's method of doing the makeup for me.

A man's life is meaningless It's just like dream

One shall do whatever he wants I will keep on drinking until the night is over

Well, Mr. Duan...

Don't waste my time. Tell him to take it off.


How dare you!

Even if it belongs to your ancestor, you should let him put it on. Low life!

Tell the Japanese, I'll be there right away.

It's not some private party. They're blackmailing you to sing for them.

On the other hand, you're the only one who can save Xiaolou.

But, if anything happened to you...

This theater of mine would... All right, go then.

Miss Juxian, what are you doing? Mr. Cheng isn't at home.

Where's Dieyi? Dieyi, hurry! I've heard the Japanese feed prisoners to their dogs!

If you delay, he might not have a life to save. Please!


You allowed them to take him away in the first place.

What you talking about! Xiaolou has looked after you since you were small.

So you know we're pretty close.

Mr. Na. I'm here.

Would you mind leaving for a moment? I've something to say to Dieyi in private.

Everyone says Miss Juxian is quite clever.

We're all trying to help Xiaolou. Talk it easy.

How about a clear answer? Are you going or not?

Say something!

I know what's on your mind. I have a proposal.

If you can get Xiaolou out ofthere, I'll go back to the House of Blossoms.

I'll keep away from both ofyou. How's that?

At the House of Blossoms, you don't have to worry about anything.

Life is much easier there.

Just remember, you said it, not me.

I give my word.

The flowers have blossomed

Their season is past All has fallen Only the sun is still the same

Xiaolou! My brother!

Xiaolou, are you all right? Did you sing for the Japanese?

There's one called Aoki, genuinely likes opera.


All right. Come here!

Let me have another drink! Okay, I'll drink one for you.

I think this opera, Farewell, My Concubine.

But it has turned into Farewell, My King.

The king's really irrelevant.

Drink this. Your voice will pierce the heaven.

Alright, come.

Forget the opera.

Let's just live a quiet life.

We'll have a fat little baby boy.

Then I'll have everything I want. That's enough.

No more opera.

Sugar-coated haws for sale!

Let's go!

Just go.

Bye, then.

Give me!

Not the crickets, my money.

You borrow the money on your host's credit, right?


I can't believe such a grown-up like you...

...is busy playing with bugs and not working!

Work? I'm an actor!

What else can I do other than acting on stage?

Shall I carry coffins?

You should be satisfied by now.

No need to shout like that.

Here's the money. What? Don't need it?

I'll apologize if I were going too far.

Unless you take caution, they will get you.

The master wants to see you.

No, I won't.

Look at this sword.

Master, they've just arrived here.


Dieyi and Xiaolou, whom you've wanted to meet.

What a great fucking honor.

Super stars have arrived! Master.

Well, I finally got something to brag about.

A great fucking honor.

Take your seats there, I'll bow to you.

Master, please don't.

You are finally here.

Dieyi, without Xiaolou's help, you are nobody.

And now, he left the stage, it's your turn to help him.

You hear me?

Come on!



You are now all grown-ups...

...and great actors with fame.

Don't remember your youth?

What's worrying you? Just hit him hard.

When did I tell you to look down on me?

Are you going to ruin operas?

It's your fault!


I am to blame.

Hit me instead!

Wait, I have to tell you this.

Xialou is my husband. If you want to hit him, you need my permission.

Knock it off!

I've heard of one bitch, and it was you!

So you must be the VIP today, right?

Take your seat and drink a cup oftea. Make yourself comfortable.

Here you are.

Alcohol, gambling and women! I deserve it!

And now crickets? I deserve it!

You didn't cherish your costume! I deserve it!

You fucking ruined opera's tradition! I deserve it!

I deserve it! I deserve it!

Hold on a moment.

Nothing's wrong to beat him with the stick for his disgrace.

But for an opium addicted brother... Juxian!

I know it's not time for a whore to interfere, but you have to look at both sides of everything.

Shut the fuck up!

Don't be so stupid!

Well, you are such a nice guy.

Go on, hit me. Quiet, or I'll cut your throat!

Calm down! Calm down!

Alright. You could kill me, but you'd also kill your child.

Your family will be over.

Did I tell you to stand up?

Shitou, were you listening? You are becoming a father.

If you stay away from being an actor, you won't be able to buy a birthday present for your kid!

Come closer!


Practice! Use your heart!

Don't be slacking.

Stretch out your legs!

Wait. Wait.

This play is called Fleeing by Night.

You are acting Linchou in this.

He's the head ofthe palace guard, not some sneaky little thief.

Take this.

Attention, everyone!

This is what a great hero should be like.

A man doesn't lightly shed his tears Unless his heart has broken into pieces

Leave me alone. I'm taking master's punishment.

The troupe has disbanded. You shall leave, too.

Master said that one should learn how to endure to become a great actor.

Everyone else has left. You ought to go too. I was found on the street as a baby.

Do you know who found you? No. They wouldn't tell me.

Do you still want to sing opera? Yes, even if I have to beg to support myself.

What's your name?

Xiao Si.

Xiao Si, go tell the manager to avoid trouble.

What's this? Why you stop singing?

Don't make trouble!

Don't go, Xiaolou.


waving flashlight is not allowed in the theater.

Even the Japanese didn't do this sort ofthing.

Everyone's here for the opera.

Please return to your seats.

Well put. Back to your seats!

But can we let him get away with speaking up for the Japanese?

No! Beat him!

Xiaolou! Xiaolou!

Let go ofhim. Let go!


I got you.

So much blood...

Get her to a hospital. Save her first! Hurry up!

Make way.

There was only a minor disturbance.

There's no need to come and check.

You can fine us.

Why do you need to arrest anyone?

The theater's been trashed, people beaten; and you still want to arrest him?

You can't do that!

What for?

Are you asking me?

Cheng Dieyi betrayed the country to the Japanese.

Move it!

On what base?


Mr. Duan.

I'm afraid she's lost the baby.

Honey, I'm so sorry.

Go, help Dieyi. Lfhe's more important to you.

I don't know whether Dieyi goes looking for trouble, or if it's trouble that comes looking for him.

He's always making troubles.

Whenever you're with him, my heart's in my throat.

Now that I've lost our child,

you're all I have left.

I don't care if I have to beg with you on the streets.

All I ask...

...is peace of mind.

If you help him this time, we'll no longer owe him anything.

Don't perform with him anymore.

Promise me.

No more performance after this.

Master Yuan, Dieyi's life is in your hands.

Count this. If it's not enough...

If only you'll save Dieyi, we'll give you all our earnings for the next three years.

You think I need your money to keep my birds from starving?

And this gentleman is?

Don't you recognize Xiaolou?

He plays the king to Dieyi's concubine.

Then it should be him who saves Concubine Yu.

My dear man, that's only a play!

All Beijing knows that you Master Yuan is the true king ofthe theater.

Yeah, it's true.

Speaking ofwhich, I'd like to ask Mr. Duan something.

When the king returns to see Concubine Yu, how many steps should he take?


Show me.

Come on, show me!

Master Yuan...

Is this the home ofMr. Yuan?

When a man called Cheng Dieyi was arrested, he said...

...the owner ofthis sword would be able to rescue him.

Do you recognize it?

From your facial expression, I see I've come to the right place.

Good. I'll put the sword here.

I'm so relieved to have found its owner.

But sometimes one's hopes are misplaced.

Master Yuan, you mustn't blame Dieyi.

Hey, wait!

The reason why Dieyi performed for Japanese wouldn't be by someone's request, would it?

If it would, he wouldn't have been arrested.


There's a roomful of reporters waiting at home.

Xiaolou, Mr. Na, let's go.

Wait a moment! Let's talk.

Master Yuan asked me to talk to you.

Tomorrow in court, say the Japanese put a gun to your head; say they tortured you.

Master Yuan has made arrangements for everything else.

This is from Xiaolou.

Dieyi, don't blame us.

Xiaolou's child...

It's karma! Your twisted partnership with Xiaolou caused this!

After you getting out ofhere, just go your own way.

During the resistance against Japan, Cheng Dieyi betrayed the country by performing...

...for Aoki and his colleagues.

You performed for their immorality.

The defendant also encouraged the enemy and disgraced your people.

Aoki continued to resist even after Japan officially surrendered.

We've collected these pictures as evidence...

...and they confirm the defendant sang for the Japanese.

We call on the witnesses Yuan Shiqing, Duan Xiaolou and Na Kun.

The government has always been good to me.

Nor would I betray the laws or my own conscience.

Cheng Dieyi was taken away in handcuffs by the Japanese.

They put a gun to the back ofhis neck. He couldn't do anything.

Duan Xiaolou?

It's true. The Japanese beat up my stage brother.

Exactly as Master Yuan has just described.

Na Kun?


The prosecutor claims Cheng performed obscene material.

That is ridiculous!

Cheng performed highlights from Peony Pavilion that night.

Anyone with any common sense knows that...

...Peony Pavilion is the quintessential Chinese opera.

How can that be obscene to the prosecutor's eye?

How dare you insult our tradition and culture like this!

Who's disparaging Chinese tradition...

...and its culture?

Well put!

We ask the accused, Cheng Dieyi.

Have the witnesses told the truth?

The court wishes to hear what the accused has to say.

The accused may say now.

I sang for the Japanese.

I hate the Japanese too.

But they didn't lay a hand on me.

Cheng Dieyi, You have the right and duty...

...to clear your name.

Reconsider carefully and tell us again.

LfAoki had lived, he'd have taken the Beijing Opera to Japan.

Why don't youjust kill me?

Master Yuan, Master Yuan!

What are you doing here?

Please, Master Yuan, don't leave.

What does it matter? He's as good as dead.

Master Yuan, you can't go. If you leave, he's finished for sure.

The court has made its decision.

The case ofthe traitor Cheng Dieyi is suspended.

The accused is released under bond.

Court dismissed!

What's going on?

Dieyi, are you playing with me? Goddamn it!

Mr. Cheng, good-bye.

This way, Mr. Cheng.

The commander has arrived.




How can one know the beauty of spring unless one visits the garden

To Mom: Did you get my last letter?

Everything's fine here.

Don't worry about me.

Xiaolou's been...

...wholeheartedly looking after me.

We rehearse by day, and perform at night.

Just like before.

The world's not what it used to be, but all we ask is a peaceful life.

We sing and get paid for. Keep ourselves safe and that's all.

The kitty is waiting around for one smell ofyour smoke.

See? It's satisfied, right?

Dieyi, should I mail this to...

The usual address. Got it.

All you classic vulnerable heroines...

...burn your letters and stuff.

Have you seen this?

Do you want it?

You don't want it? Fine, I'll tear it up.

Well, I'm tearing it up. See that?

Xiao Si!

Master Duan took the sword.

The river's course is twisted, but in the end it flows to the sea.

But what problem lies between our concubine and our king?

Talk to each other, or the Han King will take the city.

The year 1948, the eve of the Nationalist's evacuation to Taiwan

For better or worse, we Manchus ruled the country for three centuries.

The Republics onlyjust begun, and already has being overthrown.

But even the Communists have to come see opera.

The empire may change hands, but you two are alwaying superstars.


Just wait, we'll make a fortune.

Well, do you still want to pick a fight with the ragtag troops?

I'll fight them ifthey don't behave themselves.

Unless you had Master Yuan's class, we are capable offighting them.

You know that?

Do you recognize me?

Cigarettes! Buy one!

Mr. Zhang, don't you remember us?

Cigarettes! Buy a pack!

Song of sorrow and grief of my king cause me shed tears To console your saddened heart I'd rather dance and sing a song for you Please, my beloved.

A dance for... for my king.

Xiao Si, tell him to stay calm no matter what.

Honorable guests, I'm very sorry.

Today my fellow actor is...

Let's sing a song, ready?

Marching! Marching! Marching!

Our army is marching for the sun, stepping on the great motherland.

With hopes of nation on our shoulders, no enemy can stop us from our course.

Mr. Cheng, ifyou can't take it, have another smoke.

Xiao Si, go call Mr. Duan.

Down with the counter-revolutionary Yuan Shiqing!

Yuan Shiqing is an enemy ofthe people, who must be put to execution!

Be alert! Be vigilant!

Yuan Shiqing, the counter-revolutionary one.

He has harmed his community...

...and is guilty of monstrous crimes.

Only execution can satisfy the people's anger.

Down with the counter-revolutionary Yuan Shiqing!

Down with the tyrant of the opera world, Yuan Shiqing!

Death to Yuan Shiqing!

Satisfy the people's anger!

Take him away!

Only execution can satisfy the people's anger.


Yuan's been put to execution?

Keep your voice down.

Let me go! Release me!

Calm down!

Cut it out! Listen to me okay?

You will go through this.

Cut it out or I'll hit you!

Stay clam!

How is he? We may need to wean him...

...from the opium slowly. Stay here and watch him.

Don't leave, Xiaolou.

Lfhe really wants to overcome his addiction, he's got a long way to go.

It feels like ice.


The river may get frozen.

It feels like ice.


It's getting frozen.

So cold...

I got you.

Mrs. Duan!

Where were you?

A meeting.

A meeting?

Xiaolou, the whole troupe's come.

Come in! Please come in.

Ah, a costume change!

Thank you all for coming to see me. I'm fine now.

Sounds easy now. You didn't see him suffer.

Dieyi, get out ofbed. All of Beijing is waiting...

...for the next appearance ofthe King and his Concubine.

It'll be the goddamn golden hit of a golden era!

You've asked me to say a few words. I'm not sure how to put it.

I think these Modern Operas are quite interesting, but the costumes aren't very attractive.

The backdrops are too realistic.

Yet Beijing Opera puts great value on ambiance.

Song recital, movement and acrobatics are part ofthis ambiance.

But with these costumes on, performance won't look good.

You know, it really concerns me.

What do you think?

Are you saying that Modern Operas aren't Beijing Operas?

Do you really know about Beijing Operas?

No sound is but a song, no movement is but a dance.

It must have the sense ofbeauty. For instance...

Teacher, I don't get it.

When you've sweated enough to fill buckets, you'll get it!

I still don't understand. Xiao Si!

I just don't get it!

Why is it Beijing Opera when ancient heroes and beauties take the stage, but not when the laboring masses do?

You're talking apples and oranges. Don't be stupid!

What kind of attitude is that?

I'd like to hear from Teacher Duan.


It's going to rain. I've brought you the umbrella.


Yes, yes. Run along home now.

Questions like these give me a headache.

I say if it uses the traditional forms, then it's Beijing Opera.

Am I right?

I'd like to say something.

I've been part ofthe New Society...

...since giving my theater to the state.

Comrade Cheng, I believe you're wrong.

Modern Opera is a new venture. It deserves our support.

Opera requires practice, don't think you know it well!

It requires practice, skill and talent. You know that?

There's no easy way!

You're breaking the law for punishing me like this.

If I don't do this, you'll always be third-rate.

Don't even think about success!

And when did you ever seriously want me to succeed?

All you've ever wanted was a coolie, a stagehand, a follower, a bit player!

How dare you! How dare you say such rubbish!

Kneel down!

Master Cheng, you won't live to see the day ever.

Xiao Si!

Go, then! Be a bit player your whole life!

Mr. Cheng, your saying belongs to the past.

It's not going to work in the present day!

If I end up being third-rate, it'll ruin your reputation!

So, you know?

I... I just learned myself.

That's not true, Teacher Duan.

You were there at the meeting last night.

You said you'd notify Dieyi that you were replacing him.

I had second thoughts.

I decided you should tell him. Don't you agree?

If you couldn't tell him, who could?

Take it off!

Don't be like that. I won't fucking sing anymore!

Leave me alone!

Xiaolou, you mustn't go.

Comrade Duan,

That audience is made up ofthe laboring masses.

You decide whether you'll sing for them or not.

Xiaolou, the Concubine is on stage.

You'd better hurry.

Xiaolou? Master Duan?

I've followed my king on his military campaigns Enduring the wind and frost and hard toil

I hate only the lawless tyrant who has plunged our people into an abyss of misery

The people have suffered untold hardship and pain The king has returned to camp.

I'm here.

Your highness.

Thank you very much, Miss Juxian.


Dieyi, open the door!

Won't you accept my apology?

That little snake you rescued, he has turned into a veritable dragon.

You have to go along with it.

What else can you do?

No matter what, as you told me, you have to keep on singing!

It's not like old days. Just wake up and see the world!

Douzi, listen to your stage brother. Go with the times.

I'll still be the king and you my concubine.

Why does the concubine have to die?

Dieyi, you're way too obsessed.

That's the play, for heaven's sake!

The year 1966, the eve ofthe Cultural Revolution

Central People's Radio will now broadcast the decision ofthe Chinese...

...Communist Party Central Committee regarding the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, passed on August 8, 1966.

The bill for Cultural Revolution has passed.

Cultural Revolution will...

...reconstruct people's mind.

Why you wanna drink at a time like this?

I feel like it.

Jade cups were part ofthe Old Society.

We can't keep them anyway, so use them for one last time.

It still won't break!

I'm so afraid...

I dreamed I was on top of a tall building alone...

...amongst the clouds.

I wanted to jump.

Jump! I'd catch you.

You weren't there.

Xiaolou, don't leave me.

Where did you get this sword?

Cheng Dieyi gave it to me.

How many times did he give it to you?


When was the second time?

Shortly before the liberation of Beijing.


On the street in front ofthe theater.

What did you say to each other?

It was quite chaotic. I don't remember.

Try it.

We didn't say anything!

Keep thinking.

Lfwe did, I can't recall.

Something about what you'd do to the Communists?

No! Certainly not!

I'd stake my life on it.

But what ifwe've got a witness?

Who? Bring out the bastard!

Na Kun! What did I say?

I'll give you a hint. Something about ragtag troops.

Na Kun! This is pure slander!

You reactionary old theater boss! You only want to protect yourself!

You said you'd take on the ragtag troops.

No! I never said that!

What I meant was...

I was trying to say...

No, I said nothing at all!

Mr. Na, help me.

You've been smashing bricks since you were a boy, haven't you?

Do it for us.

Do it!

Come on!

Duan Xiaolou, aren't you the King?

No, I'm not.

But you've always been the King, haven't you?

That's just an opera.

It's not real life.

Did you go to brothels in the Old Society?


Don't you think that's shameful?


What did Juxian do when you married her?

A prostitute.


Now tell us what we need to know about Cheng Dieyi.

Of course, you don't have to tell anything.

You saw what happened to Yuan Shiqing.

Make your own decision.

Sweep away all sorts ofbad characters!

Destroy our enemy!

Uncover the black gangs! Cut offthe vacious hands!

Seize the black hands that have infiltrated the cultural world!

Revolution is the only way to the truth!

Sweep away all sorts ofbad characters!


Duan Xiaolou is the reactionary king!

Duan Xiaolou is vicious!

Duan Xiaolou and Cheng Dieyi are anti-Party elements!

Down with Duan Xiaolou! Down with Cheng Dieyi!

Talk! Talk!

Sweep away all sorts ofbad characters!

Talk! Talk!

All right, I'll tell you.

He's totally mad about opera.

Who? Make yourself clear.

Cheng Dieyi!

All he cares about is opera.

No matter who was in the audience or which class they belonged to... he'd still do his utmost.

You're not being straight with us!

If you don't give in, we will annihilate you.

At the start ofthe War of Resistance,

he sang for the Japanese.

He was...

He was a traitor!

Down with Cheng Dieyi!

He sang for the Nationalist soldiers; he sang for capitalists, landlords and the idle rich; he sang for the reactionaries; he sang for the tyrant of the opera world, Yuan Shiqing!

Down with Cheng Dieyi!

What else? Tell us.

He smoked opium like there was no tomorrow, he smoked away the blood and sweat ofthe laboring masses.

Keep going! Get to the point!

Say it! Say it!

Down with Cheng Dieyi!

Come on.

In order to get on Yuan Shiqing's good side,


Did you or did you not?

He became Yuan Shiqing's...

Xiaolou! You were his... Didn't you?

Sweep away all sorts ofbad characters!

Scholars and Beauties? Kings and Ministers?

Monsters and Demons!

You've all betrayed me!

Betrayed me!

I've got something to unmask as well!

I'll reveal everything.

Xiaolou, you've no conscience.

You are as greedy as a wolf!

From the moment you got involved with this woman, I knew you were finished.

You think disasterjust falls from the sky?

No. No way.

We have come step by step towards this fate.

It's retribution.

I'm despicable, and I have been so for a long time.

But now even the King of Chu is on his knees begging for mercy!

Can Beijing Opera survive?

It's doomed, isn't it?

This is what's called retribution!

Karmic retribution!

And I have something else to unmask.

See that woman?

Who is she? I'll tell you.

Slut! Pan Jinlian! Top whore at the House of Blossoms!

Fight against her!

Duan Xiaolou, is it true she was a prostitute?

Well, was she?

Tell us!


Do you love her?

Do you?

No. No, I don't love her.

Is this the truth?

Really! I really don't love her.

I'll never have anything to do with her again.

Nothing at all! From now on, we got no relation!

Juxian! Juxian!

Listen to Grandma talking about revolution Heroic and encouraging

The soldiers of Han have invaded

The songs of Chu can be heard on all sides My king,

give me your precious sword to end my life.

No! You mustn't do that!

My king, give me your precious sword. No! You mustn't...

It's not working.

I can't do it.

I'm old.

At sixteen, I am a nun.

My hair is shorn at youth's prime.

I am by nature a boy...

Not a girl.

You got that wrong again!

I am by nature a boy, not a girl.

Let's do it again.

My king, give me your precious sword to end my life.

No! You mustn't do that!

My king, give me your precious sword. No! You mustn't...

Han's troops are entering the city!




In Beijing, 1990, an opera performance was held...

...to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Anhui Opera Troupes.