Thursday, May 04, 2006

Speaking of Jiang Hu Fantasy Films...

I will most definitely be going with my wife to see The Promise (aka Wu Ji "/Les Legende des Chevaliers du Vant.) this weekend. It looks beautiful, fanciful, and tragic. Ah, to live in the world of Jiang Hu. Do I choose duty? Do I chose love? Either way, I suffer. See, tears are coming to my eyes already.

From the website:
A new epic fantasy set in China's mythical past, "The Promise" is a visually stunning tale of passion that unfolds against a backdrop of war as a beautiful and mysterious princess becomes the object of affection for three very different men - a powerful Duke, a brave general and a lowly slave. As passions spark and egos clash, lives will be ruined and lovers spurned and no one will ever be the same.

Directed by Chen Kaige, winner of the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film for "Farewell, My Concubine," "The Promise" was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. Cinematography and production design are by Academy Award winners for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," Peter Pau and Tom Yip, respectively.

I love me my tragic love stories. It started with Medieval Romances, Lancelot and Gueneviere, Tristan and Isolde, Brynhilde and Siegfried, but too few of these stories had been turned into "great" movies (the exception being the Lancelot and Gueneviere story). Then I saw The Bride with White Hair and a whole world of tragically romantic films was opened to me, that of Wuxia stories, or Chinese chivalry tales. Ever since that day, I have seen dozens of films and even read a couple of novels. One thing is constant though, the epic scale and the beautiful tragedy of the romances.

At first I wondered why I would like tragic romance, is it some kind of schadenfruede? Do I enjoy watching the suffering of others? No, that isn't it. I love the way that unfulfilled romance makes us appreciate the true value of love. When I look at my wife, and feel the happiness, comfort, and joy associated with such glances, after having watched a tragic romance, I come to see how lucky I am and how truly special a love is when it is fulfilled. It also shows me what love really is and not what I thought it was when I was 15 and full of hormones.

Love is worth the tragedy and the tragedy teaches us about the true nature of love.

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