So I read some news that Peter Ho and Janine Chang will collaborate again in a new mini/web movie “Le Jun Kai” (乐俊凯), based on a short story by Fei Wo Si Cun (匪我思存). Since I loved their chemistry in “Ring Ring Bell” this peaked my interest despite my bias against Chinese dramas. I read a synopsis here and thought OMG WTF WTH… to simply describe it as angsty is not enough. It just sounds like a torturous melodrama. So I decided to go back to the source and read the short story itself.
The main protagonist, Le Jun Kai marries Ye Zi as revenge for his former lover and unborn child. He emotionally and (implied?) physically abused Ye Zi but yet she bares this without retaliation. When Le Jun Kai begins to realize he might have feelings for Ye Zi, he forced her to get a divorce and left her to fend for herself. She initially didn’t want to leave him but finally agreed when she discovers she is pregnant…..
OK I’m not sure when this was written but I’m assuming this is modern times. (Since the story mentions modern cars like Benz / BMW.) So this is not a time when arranged marriages were the norm and women definitely do not have to tolerate any sort of abuse from men. (married or not!) The obvious questions would then be:
Why would anyone tolerate (let alone love) a husband who goes home every night drunk, wakes up every morning in a foul mood because he’s hungover, calls you into his office to scream at you because he feels like it and not to mention cheats on you repeatedly?
WHY??? WHY??? Apparently this is Fei Wo Si Cun’s ‘style’ – another one of her stories tells the tale of a woman who falls in love with her rapist. WTH. Pure escapism? I want to bang my head on the desk throughout this story and shake some sense into Ye Zi.
I guess that means this story successfully provokes emotion (mostly anger) even if you hate and cannot possibly understand what Ye Zi is thinking. Plus the short story doesn’t really have an ending, it leaves a lot to the imagination and I really hope the mini-movie will provide some sort of resolution. (Disclaimer: my Simplified Chinese is not 100% so there were some parts that I didn’t fully understand.) HOW though?? Can anyone possibly forgive such a man? Can such a story ever have a happy ending? It would seem weird. The more I think about where this series can go, the more I’m not sure I like it either way. Maybe if we have a giant explosion where everyone dies, that actually doesn’t seem too bad.
Despite all of this it will be interesting to see Peter taking on the asshole role. On the page Le Jun Kai is not sympathetic at all despite losing the love of his life with his unborn child. He unleashes all hell on Ye Zi’s family, driving them to bankruptcy and pretty much destroyed Ye Zi’s life. How did his lover die in the first place? Why is Ye Zi so willing to be abused by Le Jun Kai? There are gaps in the story where the mini movie can add some depth and make this less torturous. As I’m writing this the story reminds me of a TV series “Phoenix from the ashes” (浴火鳳凰) – which also talked about how this guy married someone for revenge and tortures her after they are married. I guess this type of melodrama gets recycled all the time so it’s no surprise. However, there is an opportunity there to make it enjoyable, especially with two charismatic leads in Peter and Janine. So I will definitely watch it when it comes out, but hope that the writers will add enough to the story to make the characters’ motivations more plausible.