I definitely clearly remember the big dramatic joke-Leslie Cheung killed himself on April 1, 2003. That was the message my friend sent me on April 2, 2003. I messaged back, “Come on, April fool’s Day is over.”
Yet, to my astonishment, news came that he died. I don’t want to make any comments or add to the gossip surrounding his sudden death, because everyone could read about all the rumors in the tabloids. The only thing I want to do is to review one of his movies, “Farewell my Concubine“, which won Gold Palm at the International Cannes Film Festival.
The story took place in a specific period along the history that was full of glories and chaos, focusing on the whole life of two famous Peking Opera performers, Duan Xiao Lou (played by Zhang Feng Yi) and Chen Die Yi (played by Leslie Cheung). In the movie, Chan always played female characters on stage, making him question his sexuality, finally leading to a string of strategies. I clearly remember the end cuts of the movie: Forty years later, Duan and Chen ended up co-starring in “Farewell My Concubine” on stage again, and all past memories flooded into their minds. Chen was so desperate and lost his hope and faith for life; he secretly switched the prop, a fake sword to a real one before the performance. In the end, Chen ended his life with the real sword and died in front of Duan, the person he loved most during his entire life. He would rather die on stage when playing the role to avoid being betrayed in life.
It seemed that Leslie’s suicide coincided with the movie plot. I can’t pinpoint exactly where the similarities were, but I couldn’t help wondering maybe the same despair in his life, the same social pressure or the same scar left by love. Leslie found no way to survive. Therefore, he said, “So long” to all, but I will remember him forever as his legacy lives on through his songs and movies.