Farewell my Concubine, the only Chinese language film to ever win the Cannes Palme d’Or, explores the effect of China’s political turmoil during the mid-20th century on the lives of individuals, families and groups.

An adaptation of the novel by Lilian Lee, the film explores the effect of China’s political turmoil during the mid-20th century on the lives of individuals, families and groups. Spanning 53 years, the film is two films at once, a tale of the friendship of two men against the historical backdrop of a country in upheaval. The central characters, Dieyi and Xiaolou, are two apprentices in the Peking Opera, the film examines how their lives are affected by major political changes such as the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s and the victory of the communists in 1949 – alongside the story of a woman who comes between them. The multi award-winning film regularly tops film polls and is regarded as a modern-day epic.

This programme is supported by Film Hub NI. Part of the Belfast Film Festival young programmers project in association with QFT.

This season was selected and curated by Peize Li. A former graduate of Queens University, Belfast. Peize Li’s Theme was diversity of Chinese Cinema and Minority Groups in China. She writes:  ‘There are the 56 ethnic groups in China. The diverse stories of different ethnic groups on screen contributes to the diversity of Chinese cinema. This is a collection that involves classic films and films that tells stories of minority ethnic groups of China. Both the collections of classic Chinese films and films of Chinese minority ethnic group involves films that are made by most prominent Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Generation of Chinese Filmmakers and latest new filmmakers of China.  From the film The Horse Thief made in the year of 1986 to the River Road made in 2014, Chinese film industry and film cultures witnessed massive changes. While the Chinese film industries growing rapidly during these years, the major roles that used to be played by the state-owned studios are now played by different types of producers. In recent years, the films that tell stories about minority ethnic groups are frequently paid attentions by the world-wide audiences.’