Monday, 30 August 2010

Farewell, My Concubine (1993)[* * * * *]

I saw this multiaward winning classic for only one reason: because Jackie Chan had lived this from the time he was 7 - 17 yrs old. And survived the torture.

The movie is about the routine abuse of children in the Chinese Opera, often abandoned there by their parents. I found it unbearable to watch the 19-hour training days, corporeal punishments for tiny errors: daily beatings, being made to stand in the cold all night, hanging by the legs, tying up, sexual abuse, everything. I couldn't watch without forwarding it by leaps. Also it was a chinese version so I award all those stars for bringing to light the excrutiating details of child torture.

Children driven by ambitious men to achievement must be hell on earth, whether in gymnastics, drama, opera or music. However plastic their early learning ability, condemn it. The 'training' of animals for entertainment is supposed to be derived from this kind of child training, just as animal slavery today is just a replacement for human slavery in the past.

How Jackie (center) emerged from his hellish childhood to be one of the most likeable and easygoing actors, not twisted and cynical, is a mystery. In his autobiography he writes that he was beaten everyday even after 19 hours of training. All 7 surviving 'Little Fortunes' from his operatic troupe achieved fame with him. Today Jackie Chan is UNICEF's goodwill ambassador for children, his passion.


venkhat said...

It is hurting to know that kids are beaten to achieve fame, for themselves and their masters.

Sad to know that Jackie had such a past.

Yoda said...

There is a certain sadness about him that makes sense after I read his story.