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Double Bill: Tuya’s Marriage + Mystery

05 November 2012 | Chinese Films, Double Bill, Features | by David Zou

Welcome to today’s edition of Double Bill,if you are new to this series,check out what this series is all about here.

The connection between today’s two Chinese films is “two fathers”,interesting topic,uh?

Tuya’s Marriage (2006)

Tuya’s Marriage is one of the best films that tells the story of the Chinese Minority and won the Golden Bear award at Berlin Festival in 2006.The story is about a Minority woman’s inner struggle between making money herself to support her entire family and marrying another man to take care of her family including her crippled husband.It is a meditation of love and marriage,a rough picture that tops my list of great marriage movies.

There is a dilemma for both Tuya and her pursuers.The dilemma is that she suffers a lot from earning money to support the family and both her nerve and body are on the edge of breakdown,she wants to marry another man to share her burden but nobody is kind enough to take care of her disabled husband.

The strong-willed Tuya

She really wants to marry anyone out there just because she can’t take all these any more,but both she and her husband find the fact that a marriage is not a marriage if there is no love between the two person.Her kindness and strong will moves a lot of men around,but only her friend and neighbor, Sen’ge,is the one who really loves her and is willing to do anything to improve her life quality,and be good to her husband.

Tuya is moved in the end,she accepts Sen’ge marriage proposal and marries him.Though her “former husband” takes this as it is,both of them have a hard time on the day of marriage.Their son has a fight with another kid about “having two fathers”,but it is something that has to be done,for everyone’s sake,love survives,fortunately.

 

Mystery (2012)

As one of my most anticipated movies this year,Lou Ye’s Mystery didn’t disappoint me a bit.As a matter of fact,it is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen in cinema,I couldn’t help discussing with my wife about it after watching,it is obviously a thought provoking film that is quite rare in Chinese cinema nowadays.

The source material of the screenplay is interesting,it’s from a forum topic on one of the most popular BBS in China – Tianya,I’m not sure if it is the first time for any directors to do this,but working on a film that is adapted from something that is written by an Internet user is both bold and risky.It could be easily over-the-top if you don’t have the chops to handle it,because all these materials are often exaggerated to attract readers.

Mystery Lou Ye

The wife is looking for an answer

If a forum topic is hot enough to attract any directors,it must deal with a subject that everybody can resonate,in this film,it’s mistress,the terminator of marriages.In Western films,love affair with the third person is not always criticized,and most of the time,it is a symbol of pursuing true love.But in Chinese society and films,mistress is a group of people that receive harsh criticism,it becomes of a phenomenon that can be seen as part of the losses of China’s dramatic economic progress.

The tone of Mystery is extremely dark,like Lou’ previous films.The male protagonist is obsessed with sex and lost in it.The two female roles represent two kinds of modern woman who suffers from husband’s infidelity,their attitude towards this is opposite,one chooses to leave without hesitation,one chooses to stay in pain.This is a human situation that is so common in Chinese modern society and Lou captures it with accuracy and depth.

The most ironic scene in the movie is the father role comes home and finds both of his “wives” are in it,one of them tells his child :”your father is taking us back home”,and the other says:”your father will stay with us”. A dialogue that is full of disguise and lies,but utterly true.

 

Please leave your comments below if you have watched any of these two films.

 

 

 


   

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  • Tuya’s Marriage is a very cool movie. Incidentally, it was the first movie to be distributed in the U.S. by the Chicago-based Music Box Films.

    Mystery sounds great. I need to familiarize myself with more Lou Ye. I saw Suzhou River once about ten years ago but didn’t really understand it.

    • It got US distributions because it won major award in Europe,and Chinese directors need to make more competitive films otherwise it would be totally ignored!

      Mystery is probably the best of Lou yet,get more of his films,Mike,he is one of the very few mainland directors working today that still worth attention.

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