霸王别姬 Farewell my Concubine
Chen Kaige, China/Hong Kong 1993 (excerpts)
The opera film Farewell My Concubine can be considered one of the most notable examples of female impersonation, also prevalent in Beijing Opera: Male actors act as female characters, often projecting onto them a distorted portrayal of hyperfemininity. The film is also considered a queer icon in Asian Cinema for its portrayal of homosexuality as well as the gender-fluid performance of Leslie Cheung. However, its portrayal of women remains problematic. In Constructing Women, images and representations of women in Farewell My Concubine, specifically the Beijing Opera acts, will be dissected and reimagined by choreographer Ming Poon. This becomes an investigation to emanicipate female impersonation of classic heroine characters from the male gaze, while re-adapting it for a queer feminist future.
Ming Poon is a Berlin-based choreographer and dancer. He creates interventions, where spectators are invited to exercise their agency to create change. His practice is influenced by Buddhist concepts of interdependence and care, Judith Butler’s resistance in vulnerability, Augusto Boal’s theatre of the oppressed and Nicolas Bourriaud’s micro-utopias.
Darunee Terdtoontaveedej is a curator and researcher based in Rotterdam. Trained as an architect and designer, Terdtoontaveedej specialises in cross-disciplinary collaboration through the designer’s lens. She is currently the LGBTQ+ programme curator at CinemAsiaFilm Festival and has been selected as the Young Curator of the 49th edition of International Film Festival Rotterdam.