Dependent Origination

山楂树之恋(Spoiler!)

Posted on: October 8, 2010

The movie itself is good, better than most of the recent productions from Zhang Yimou. The pace is a bit slow. I don’t think you need to be that slow just because it happened in the past or memory. People in the bygone times were not retarded. They were still normal. Also I don’t like the way how they use captions to show plot twists. That is lame. Only people who cannot tell a story resort to that kind of help.

I love the story, however. Was even more touched by the fact, later learned, that it is based on a true story. The movie itself even opened in Yichang, Hubei for that is where the original story happened during early 70s. The fact that there were people who loved so unselfishly is strangely comforting. It is almost like an announcement that love always exists. It is just you never meet her.

I read some reviews on douban and felt none of them grasped the key point. Well, the humorous ones are rather amazing, for example, this one. (Don’t check it out if you haven’t watched the movie. It is dissecting the movie into bits and pieces.) The marketing campaign of this movie was focusing on the innocence of the love. In everyone’s interpretation, that basically means there was no sex but still a great love. So people review it like crazy. Such as no sex does not equal to innocence. Innocence is about heart. If your heart remains pure, you can still be innocent (but promiscuous).  I don’t understand the logic at all. How can you be promiscuous *and* innocent? Just someone tells me how??? It sounds like someone wants it both but couldn’t get it both so they have to change definitions.

Anyway, coming back to the movie, after the initial wave of emotions set upon by the beautifully sad story, I came to the realization that this is an one-sided love story. It is about how a man loves a woman while the woman never really wakes up and responds with her own passion. It fits the frame of thousands of years of story telling from the man’s point of view. Woman is supposed to be passive and receptive and never someone with her own identity. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a feminist but I cannot help notice it despite the motivation from the hero is purely admiration and his lack of chance to fulfill his dreams is heartbreaking.

I don’t feel ‘pure or innocent’ is the key point to describe this story, although I understand sex sells so allusion to it also sells. It is more about how a man can love a woman without even a single thought about himself. Given the general truth that men are selfish animals (don’t throw bricks at me. i know every man reader out there is not selfish :), it makes the love so rare and so unattainable. In a sense, the hero served the purpose to display the existence of such love to us and died young so that we won’t be so regretful of our own choices. Good things are never meant to last.

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