Yu Zheng’s “Winter Begonia” is Too Similar to “Farewell My Concubine”
When Winter Begonia <鬓边不是海棠红> was first announced in late 2018, netizens were already comparing the drama to the legendary 1993 film Farewell My Concubine <霸王別姬> starring Leslie Cheung (張國榮). Both involve characters living among a Peking opera troupe. Both is set in a time of war. Both feature two men and a woman who comes between them.
Granted, the original source material for Winter Begonia—a popular online BL novel—did not shy away from admitting that the Winter Begonia was inspired by Farewell My Concubine. In the original novel, main leads Cheng Fengtai and Shang Xirui were lovers who had to choose between love or fighting for their nation in war. There was no female lead, but due to Chinese censors, Yu Zheng scrapped away the homosexual relationship to make way for a female lead, a wife for Cheng Fengtai.
In new promotional images, netizens noted that the cross-dressing performer Shang Xirui, portrayed by Yin Zheng (尹正), looks almost identical to Leslie Cheung’s character Cheng Dieyi in Farewell My Concubine, with similar makeup and hairstyles. It is almost impossible to tell the two apart. The earthly, yellow color palette as seen in Winter Begonia’s teaser is also similar to the editing style of Farewell My Concubine.
But not every netizen was upset with the similarities. Many expressed their excitement for the new show, and that it is good to see a new production paying homage to a film that had crossed international barriers.
Huang Xiaoming (黄晓明) and Charmaine Sheh (佘诗曼) also star in the drama
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.