This holiday weekend turned out to be some Mandarin-language movie marathon of sorts. I’ve watched Go Lala Go (China), My DNA Says I Love You (Taiwan), Sophie’s Choice (China) and the surprise hit in the mainland this year, Love Is Not Blind or 失恋33天.
The film has been tagged in some articles like this as China’s version of Bridget Jones’ Diary, to which I disagree. It’s an entirely different material and should not be hobbled down by comparison to a Western film.
Not that it has been hobbled down because as of December 14, it has earned over US$47 million at the boxoffice according to this article. It was made on a $1.4 million-budget. Beat that.
To be sure, the plot about 27-year-old wedding planner Xiao Xian who caught her long-time boyfriend cheating with her best friend may sound common but I don’t care as long as the film localizes it, and it does.
During the 33 days following her break-up, Xiao Xian finds a shoulder-to-cry-on in an unlikely colleague who, some reviews have romanticized but this one actually says it bluntly: sorry girls, he’s gay.
Xiao Jian is my favorite character in the film (and Wen Zhang, who plays the role, my new favorite Chinese actor; he’s also in Jet Li’s Ocean Heaven as the autistic son). He gives it chutzpah, otherwise, it would have ended as another weepy, sappy romantic film. But I missed this scene so I have to watch it again:
The gender of Xiao Jian, however, is not as important as the story itself which many could relate to. Because who hasn’t been heartbroken and had to go through the post-mortem of a break-up, swinging back and forth from anger to hopelessness to depression to defeat to acceptance and that moment when you want to take back everything in order to hold on and keep the love?
There are lovely lines in the film too:
“There are two kinds of girls in this world: Those who find love a luxury and LV a necessity, and those who find love a necessity and LV a luxury.”
“The guarantee period of a fridge is three years. How can you guarantee marriage for a lifetime?”
“My break-up is like a painful brain operation. I have to cut off all the memories.”
On a more personal note, before I watched this film, I said a little prayer asking for a sign on how best to handle a dilemma that I’m going through. Should I give up or hold on? I needed a sign.
Towards the end of the film, I saw this scene and I burst into tears.
(You’ll understand why @marylngoh.)
Sometimes, dramas and films do not just mirror our lives. They also become an instrument for us to see a sign, an indication, a lesson that we could take to our own lives. And only then did I begin to understand that films are not just there to entertain us, but enlighten us as well.
You can download Love Is Not Blind with English subtitles here. The file is in rmvb (Real Media Player) and you might need to manually adjust the settings to make the colors come out and the subtitles readable.
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