Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Love Story under a Horror Skin -- "Painted Skin"

This Chinese movie is based on an ancient ghost story recorded in the famous Chinese short novel collection "Liao Zhai Zhi Yi" (basically this is a collection of traditional Chinese ghost and demon stories, which was written over 200 years ago). The original story tells about a demon that maintains the outlook of a young beauty by eating human hearts every day. And the most horrible scene is when the demon "takes off" the skin and does make-up on it! (That's the origin of the name "Painted Skin")
The movie uses this plot, but don't mistake it with any other horror or ghost movies, or expect quite many bloody scenes or zombies in it. Down to the earth, this is about a love story.
Two men fell for one same girl, and she chose one, so the other one left in sorrow. Years later, the husband took back a mysterious girl, who obviously had this kind of crush in him. Wife found out that the girl was not just a girl, so she asked the other man that loved her to come back and investigate it. But they lost to the girl again and again, finally the wife had to turn herself into a "demon", to get the promise from the girl that she would not kill anybody any more, including the husband. But the husband did not give up his wife, even he believed that she was a demon. His choice was to kill her and himself. End of the day, the real demon was destroyed, and before she died, she regretted and used her power to bring back to life the couple in love.
Not quite a fascinating plot, I know. But you should watch this movie, even if you don't understand Chinese, because true love does not prefer any language.
True love, is not exclusion, but sacriface. You can enjoy this movie more if you can understand this point. Or, you will understand more about this point after you watch this movie.
Most girls, especially Eastern ones, would prefer those sensitive man, instead of those strong and tough guys. But the thing is, when a man is too sensitive, he will almost always hurt you some day, when the timing is right. A tough guy could hardly hurt you by any way, once he has chosen you as the one, but you might hardly feel his sensitive side for all the time. So you need to choose. Unfortunately, most girls will make one or several wrong choices for them during their lifetime.
The director is brilliant, for he managed to make a movie that so much like a whole. You can say that many parts of this movie, like the roles, are not the best one among the alternatives, but when you make the puzzle up, you could not find anything more appropriate than that. A great movie does not need one single brilliant component, but a brilliant combination.
Perhaps the only fallback of this movie is the voice of one leading role, Zhou Xin (as the demon Xiao Wei). She is a famous Chinese actress and has won quite some domestic and international awards. But her voice is rough and discomfortable, which she insisted to stick to it all these years long. She might have her insist, but the audience should have their choices also.

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