Painted Veil (2006) film in this assignment is going to tell the story of a
young British couple who came to China’s rural life in the 1920s after they
marriage. In this beautiful but dangerous country, they experienced emotional
waves that never imagined and experienced in their hometown of England. In the
film, it also strongly show the true meaning of love and dedication. This film
was adapted from a same name novel by British author W. Somerset Maugham in
story revolves around the married life of Walter Fane that played by Edward
Norton, is a famed bacteriologist, and a raging socialite Kitty Garstin that is
played by Naomi Watts. The story begins with actress Kitty, and in order to
escape London’s dazzling but empty social circles in the 1920s and to prevent
her becoming an old girl from her family’s mouth, Kitty accepts the petty
doctor Walter Fane’s offer. The couple is married to each for different reasons
with Walter falling in love, while Kitty is seeking to escape the clutches of
her mother. Walter is posted in Shanghai studying infectious diseases and takes
her with him to China. She quickly loses the charm of living a married life and
has an affair with a charming British married man, Charles Townsend. After
Walter finds out about the affair, he decides to punish Kitty and take her to a
far village to help out with the cholera epidemic. Kitty is extremely
disappointed at this, as she needs to live in complete squalor. However, as she
starts helping out with the nuns that are taking care of the patients, their
relationship starts to blossom with Kitty getting pregnant. Walter and Kitty
finally opened their hearts to each other, but as they grew closer, Walter was
infected with cholera. In the end, Walter dies because of the cholera. Kitty is
extremely distraught and decides to head back to the UK to continue her life.
The movie ends with Kitty shown many years later with her grown son. It is
assumed from the ending that the son is Walter’s son and not Charles as Charles
realizes that the age might not be right for him to be their son.
main genres in which the movie lay is that of romance and drama (Dargis, 2006).
The romance aspect is kept alive by the married life situation of both Kitty
and Walter. Even though they are nursing a faltering marriage, the cholera
epidemic becomes the seed through which they can see each other in a different
light and start loving each other again. The most impressive part is, Kitty
returns to London with her 5 years old son after Walter dies. They met Charlie
and he try to insinuate Kitty for getting back together (Figure 1). Kitty
straight away turns him down because she still loving Charlie although he is
not around with her anymore. Walter’s death determines their newly erupted
passion can be transformed into eternal love. This shows the power of love and
make the story more romantic. The drama aspect revolves around the twists and
turns which the characters experience as they go through the various events of
the movie. This movie shows a lot of the feelings and the moods of the role
after experiencing excitement and incredible things. Most events have specific
consequences which leave the actors either distraught or elated, depending on
Theory Applied: Feminism
reality, feminist theory has always been about viewing the social world in a
way that illuminates the forces that create and support inequality, oppression,
and injustice, and in doing so, promotes the pursuit of equality and justice.
(Crossman, 2017)From a feminine perspective, we can see that Kitty is an
archetype of Feminist for her time. Even though the way she gets married may
not be to the liking of feminists, her eventual decisions, those of following
her heart show a woman that knows what she wants and will get what she wants.
The fact is focused on partying and other social activities is not important.
What is important is that as a feminist she exerts control over her destiny and
hence has a locus of control which cannot be touched by others. Her privileged
position in society may be a reason for that as well.
of all this, her attitude towards life and society shows a woman that is
empowered by her decisions and overcomes patriarchal forces which are
ever-present in Victorian society. Her decision to have an affair while she was
married as well as her decision to get married to get away from her mother are
two examples of decisions in which as a feminist she would exercise her
decision regardless of the situation and circumstance.
of the movie is shot in China, Guang Xi Huang Yao Ancient Town. The
cinematography of the movie is quite magnificent, especially they use dolly shot to take those cholera
epidemic that revolving around the isolated village scene (Figure 2). The photography of the areas, the colors used
in the movie, all present a compelling case for the plight and misery of the
individuals undergoing the epidemic.
there are the primarily grey tones of
the movie (Figure 3 and 4). This gives the movie a feel of being dated to a
particular era in history. The colors also chime in well with the sadder parts
of the movie. It cannot be discounted that looking at the plight using this
color scale brought more emotive force to the scene than using full color or
even Sepia coloring.
costumes of the movie are extremely lavish as well (Figure 5). This is
especially true for the type of dresses that Kitty wears. Her upper-class
social upbringing is seen vividly through her attire. At the same time, the
same costumes bring out the plight of the villagers which are undergoing the
cholera crisis. It forms a clear contrast between Kitty and the villagers. This
can make viewers more input in the situations and understanding of the story.
Overall, the costumes in the movie feel extremely authentic, which gives the
whole production an authenticity to the viewer.
Conclusion & Messages
movie is not about the trials and tribulations of dealing with a cholera
epidemic. Rather the message is about hope and transformation. The characters
given their circumstances are believed to have fallen out of love with each
other and then fall in love with each other in unlikely circumstances. The
usage of the cholera epidemic as a story factor is important. It shows that
even in the depths of desperation there is hope and vitality. It can be assumed
that moving to the village was more of punishment for Kitty rather than an
escape to refine their love. However, the unprecedented circumstances both have
to face gives them a chance to see each other in a new light. In this way, it
is a story about hope and revival. There is always a chance to find that part
of the person which the person loves. Putting oneself in extreme situations is
the only way to find out the true nature of a person and to understand what
their character is. Kitty finds out that he loves children which changes her
opinion about him. Couples should always take an interest in each other, and if
there are good intentions, it is likely that love will find its way regardless
of the circumstances.
is also a message of forgiveness. The betrayal that Walter faced could have
easily led him to do something extreme to her, as he was threatening her with
divorcing her. However, he chooses the path of forgiveness through the
tribulation. Even though it was not his initial intention to do so, he delaying
any current action allowed the relationship to blossom and become whole again.
The part that not to be neglected is, Kitty and Walter can know each other mind
was because of the forgiveness. Forgiveness make their relationship without