I DO / 我願意 / Wǒ Yuànyì [2012 Chinese Film Review]

BY RUBY GEGE (AND HAPPY FIRST ANNIVERSARY, THREECHINGUZ!! THIS BLOG IS OFFICIALLY ONE YEAR OLD!!! JUST WISH TO SAY THAT I LOVE MY FELLOW CHINGUZ AND CO-WRITERS, THE GORGEOUS PALAH CHINGU AND MAERTAI FATMA. AND DEAR READERS, WHOEVER YOU ARE, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR READING!!)

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Only now I realize how great a joy it is to watch a romantic comedy film once in a while. For a good few hours, I get to laugh, cry, be touched and melt over the romance looming around my laptop. Ouh, such happiness!! I stumbled upon I Do in Youtube and randomly downloaded it. I have to say, I was not disappointed! Not that I’ve ever doubted the gorgeous Li Bingbing’s talent. I should really start collecting more rom-com in my hard disk since they are great stress-relievers. Life sucks. So why not use some cinematic medicines to cure that sucky-diseases? 

U4350P28T3D3560970F326DT20120222074900Set in the metropolitan Beijing, I DO revolves around Tang Weiwei (Li Bingbing), a super successful and super gorgeous and super confident sales director in her early thirties. She has been single since she was 25 years old after her boyfriend left her and had a pregnant best friend who often helped her with blind dates, which never really seemed to work out anyway. Then, she encountered Yang Nianhua (Sun Honglei), a man a few years older than her seemingly of a middle-class background. Even though Nianhua was not as successful and ‘upper’-ish as Weiwei was, they got along well, starting a friendship and courtship at the same time. 

During the courtship, Weiwei’s ex-boyfriend, Wang Yang who left her seven years ago came back to her life, now as a rich jewellery company owner. Weiwei supported Wang Yang for many years while they were dating, through thick and thin, through his unemployments and failures in life. Thus, she was still very bitter and disappointed by his decision to disappear just like that from her life. Wang Yang made his intentions clear that he wanted to resume their romance and pursued Weiwei, asking for her forgiveness.

I find it most surprising that the love-triangle in this movie is so enjoyable to watch. Truthfully, I hate all the cliches one can predict in a romance film. Yet, the three main characters here played their roles with great confidence and ease that watching them navigate their love lives around each other is fascinating. Even though there were tensions here and there, they were never over-dramatic, giving the film a very ‘adult/mature/grown-up’ feel.

Weiwei, for once, is a great character and role model for women. Even though she is independent and successful, she is a realistic person. She wants a husband, a partner in life. Even though she’s comfortable being alone and is a bit sarcastic about the idea of love, she has yet to give up in searching for someone to live her life with. She wants a partner yet she is not too extreme about it. She might be a workaholic sales director but with her love life, she prefers to take it slow and easy.

It’s not important that he has money or not. He has no money, I can earn money. Why do I need too much money? I want a man. Do you understand what a MAN is?” – Tang Weiwei, defending Nianhua when the latter was criticized by Weiwei’s rich ex-boyfriend. (Oh my God, girllll…. I totally get you!!)

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Which made Yang Nianhua the perfect man for her!! Their relationship is my favourite aspect of the film. It is the kind of relationship I want (if ever I have a romantic partner. Oh God, pleaseeeeeeee!!!!!!!) Nianhua is a simple outgoing guy who likes Weiwei for who she is. Despite the lack of interest she showed for him in the beginning of their courtship, he was always there for her. They started of as friends and confidante and slowly, he displayed great reliability and kindness with her. Who does not fall for that?!!! He is a relaxed kind of guy who brings her dinner, has a sense of humour and is very supportive. If that is not perfection, I don’t know what is.

It is also very interesting to see the contrasting dynamics Weiwei shared with her ex-boyfriend and her new romantic partner. She had had an intense long history with Wang Yang and they knew everything about each other. Yet her heart had been crushed by him leaving her without any explaination years ago. When he tried to woo her again, Weiwei was angry at him at first. Only later that she finally showed signs on why she rejected him – she no longer yearned for him. She was disinterested. She wanted nothing more from him. Their time had passed. 

With Nianhua, Weiwei felt easy. As if he had been a very familiar presence in her life. He makes her happy, supports her and sits down to talk to her. He listens to her and most importantly, is a friend to her. I think that is how Weiwei fell for Nianhua despite the presence of the ex-boyfriend (whom she truly loved years ago). 

I Do 我愿意  (2012)  [full length movie-english subtitles] Chinese Movie.mp4.opdownload_002254907

“If you think that I cheated on you, my mistake was that I hid my fortune. How about you? You hide your heart. Your heart is like a thick suit of armor. Needle cannot go in. Water cannot splash in. Reject everything that comes into your heart.” – Nianhua, persuading Weiwei to forgive him once she finds out that he’s actually a filthy rich businessman beneath his laid-back appearance. 

The film had a happy ending, with Nianhua proposing to Weiwei. Wang Yang finally let Weiwei go, wishing her all the happiness in the world. I have to say, though, that scene is the most touching scene in the film. 

“When something is lost, maybe it never comes back. But it makes my heart aching forever.” – Wang Tan, finally accepting that his relationship with Weiwei is over. 

I am beginning to enjoy a lot of modern films from Mainland China after being so absorbed with the films from the 90s and 80s which dealt with more serious socially-conscious elements. Modern Chinese films may seem more glossy and pretty but they also deal with problems I can and will relate to. The issue of successful career-women seems to be on the rise. It cannot be denied that even though marriage is no longer a priority for women, it does not mean that they DON’T want to get married. It’s just that they don’t want to get married to the wrong person. With success and independence, they don’t cling to the presence of men in their lives. People should start expecting to marry a person/individual instead of a wife to manage the household and be the mother of their children.  

When the search of love fails, people marry for practicality. To have a companion. To have children. To start a family. 

“When I was your age, I was afraid that men cheated on me. But now at my age, I am most afraid that I am not useful to men. Life has several stages. After I turn 50, do I still need a man? If I have a son, it’s enough.” – Weiwei’s collegue in her 40s on marriage and partnership.

One thing I kind of dislike about the film is that it has an ‘upper-class’ feel to it. Most characters are filthy rich, successful, have great jobs with impeccable wardrobes and expensive cars. But maybe that is the way it is in the city of Beijing now. I read online that there is a surge of ‘new money’ in the city for the past few years. People are getting richer, the young ones are getting more ambitious. Life is busier, more hectic and unfortunately, more materialistic. It applies to every metropolitan city in the world, including Kuala Lumpur itself. 

On the whole, I DO is an enjoyable romantic-comedy film. The acting is great (like… duhhh, look at the cast. All critically-acclaimed actors, people!) It displays romance in an appropriate dosage and proves that love does not have to be intense and passionate all the time. Love can be kind, understanding, supportive, and reliable. 

I Do 我愿意  (2012)  [full length movie-english subtitles] Chinese Movie.mp4.opdownload_004501057

Awww… these damn feels…

P/S – Ruby Gege wants to return to school so badly. She has been reading a lot in preparation for her PhD proposal. Will she get what she has been hoping for? Will she not? Will she fail? Will she succeed? Can she do what she enjoys in the future? Soon? Pleassseeee? Ruby Gege wishes she can read all day, every day. 

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Documentary Review: The Invisible War (2012)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

My Rating: 5/5
My Rating: 5/5

What is it to live in the country that is so called ‘free’ and uphold their democracy so highly but when it comes to standing up and fight for the plight of rape victims, everybody just gone ‘shushh’. I know it is not my country and i am not going to badmouthing anybody but if you watched this documentary film, you know exactly how i feel. All of this poor woman entered the military with the idea of serving for their country. Some of them are the top recruit and served in the army for more than 5 years. Some of them came from the background of army family so the idea of wanting to do for their country running proudly in their vein. Who can blame them though? Both my parents are retired police officer. They served in quite high rank before officially retired. If my parents did encourage my brothers and i to be a police officer, we all may be one. However, my parents said no to us. They said be anything you like but not the police. I dont know what caused them to do it but i know they had a reason.

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Kori Cioca

In the beginning, all the rape victims is being introduced one by one to the audience. Some of them served a quite bit high rank in the military and due to the rape incident, they are being demoted and had to leave military earlier. It is hard not to cry if you watched this film. There is one victim named kori who attempted suicide more than one due to Post traumatic stress disorder. She was raped more than once and at one event, she was being slapped by her rapist and it cause her jaw  to dislocate. Since then, Kori in the massive pain as she could not chew a solid pain and even change in the weather would caused some minor ache to her jaw. Kori told the story of how she called, applied and enquired army office to claim the compensation of her jaw injury. The red tape shown is no joke. She called over and over again only to be dismissed or wait in the other line like bloody forever. Next thing, when Kori received the claim letter officially, they said she’s not qualified to claim it due to her incomplete service in military. Kori’s rapist is not being harmed or prosecuted since the evidents against him is lacking and instead, Kori is forced to leave. Is this justice? i dont know you tell me.

Hannah Sewell and her father.
Hannah Sewell and her father.

Hannah sewell is among the victims that had a military background. Having a father that served in military, she looked up to him and wanting to be him one day. She did it eventually and enlisted in the army. Next thing you know, she called her father when in her base camp telling her dad that she is no longer a virgin. Her father asked with a concern ‘why is that?’ Hannah answered ‘I was raped’. Her father cried during the interview. Her father who have been proudly served in the army would not have thought that her daughter will be treated like that. Hannah faced many assault and even raped by the same rapist so many times. At one particular trauma event, Hannah talked about how she was tied to bed and the rapist touched all of her body and said ‘i owned all of this’.

Ariana Klay and her Unit
Ariana Klay and her Unit

Ariana klay is considered the top recruits and went to be promoted in one of prestigious unit of Marine located in Washington DC. Ariana reminisce the story of how she was happy and could not wait to go there. It all changed after she herself went there. She was being insulted and being verbally abused by senior officer saying that how female marines are just the object of them to fuck. They even said to those who wear a make up in marine are sluts and showing an interest to sleep with everybody. Ariana was raped by her senior officer and his friend after the drinking event. She does not want to go to the drinking event but it was expected of her. It is a command given after they all finished performing the ceremonial drill. After the traumatized incident, Ariana reported the case and marine claimed that there are 2 sides of the story and indicating that Ariana may consent to what happened to her. Her rapist also threatened her if she opened her mouth and reported the case, she will be killed. Ariana appeared in the interview with her husband. Her husband who also served in the marine cried while told the story of how Ariana did try to kill herself because of PTSD. He told how Ariana gave her 9 years of life to serve in Iraq only to be back and treated like a nobody in her unit.

Michael Matthews
Michael Matthews

The victims featured in this documentary is not just a female officers. There is a male officers appeared in the interview to talk about this dark and hidden event happened back when they served the army. One of the them is michael matthews. He said he could not talk about this thing and he kept it for so long that it caused him to attempt suicide a few times. Until one day, he said he cannot held it any longer and decided to tell her wife. He is expecting that he will be be dumped by her wife after telling the story. Instead, her wife remains as his strong pillar of emotion and moral support. Matthews told the story of how he was struck from behind, being held by 2 persons while the other one sodomized him. He told how the burden has been lifted from his chest after told the truth to her wife. They started the campaign together to warn the public that there are sexual violence occurred in the army and to try to put an end to this injustice.

There are other stories that touched my heart to the core. This is a must watch documentary. It was heartbreaking to see how such an optimist and ideal person, eager to serve their country but returned with a story that cannot be erased from their mind and the trauma lingered for god knows how long.

Documentary Review: Saving Face (2012)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

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My Rating : 4.5/5

I am speechless when I watched this documentary. My eyes are swollen just because I can’t stop crying. This documentary is featuring 2 women named Zakia and Rukhsana who has been a victim of domestic violence. They are facing the disfigurement of their entire face by acid attacks committed by their husbands. Is this an act of cowardice? That is what I called it. Zakia who is 49 years old woman suffered a vicious acid attack by her husband. She stated her husband did it out of temper and his addiction to alcoholism and gambling had driven him to do so. Rukhsana, on the other hand, said it happened so fast and her acid attack also involved her own sister and mother in law. Her husband threw acid on her face and body while her sister in law poured a gasoline on her body and her mother in law lit the matches and burned her.

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Zakia
Rukhsana
Rukhsana

It was so touching seeing their member of parliament especially women MP fight for the rights of these acid attack survivors. They argued and presented their bills in the parliaments and eventually, passed the bill. The perpetrators might not get a death penalty as they suggested earlier but they get a life imprisonment sentence for what they did to those poor women. It might not fair (for me at least) but it is one step at a time. By sentencing this fucking bastard (sorry, I can get emotional sometimes), it showed that you will not get away from the crimes that you did to your wife. It will be the lesson that they will not get away with it.

One of the Parliament's members is discussing about the bill.
One of the Parliament’s members is discussing about the bill.

Zakia is the first woman among of possibly thousands of acid attack survivors that wanted justice for her. Her lawyer applauded her bravery saying that it is rare to see these survivors coming upfront and demanded a punishment to be imposed to their criminals. Due to Zakia’s courage, Her lawyer fight for her case without any charge and hopefully, she can use this case to set a precedent in other acid attack’s case. It was heartwarming seeing Zakia’s son and daughter stayed by her side and gave her a moral support. They knew Zakia is innocent and their father should be punished for the crime that they did.

Dr Mohammad Jawad and Zakia
Dr Mohammad Jawad and Zakia

This documentary also featured some interview clips of Zakia’s Husband and Father in Law. Zakia’s husband did not confessed to his crime and claimed that he was indeed innocent. He told the interviewer that someone else did it and he doesn’t know his name. Her father in law on the other hands, blamed Zakia’s Infidelity and she was punished for it. One thing that bothers me is how Zakia’s husband said ‘Whatever happened, it did happen’. What the fucking fuck are you talking about? You just destroyed your wife’s face and future. You already scarred her face and make her suffered for it. While watching this, I suddenly remember one documentary I watched last year. The documentary film of ‘Dancing boy in Afghanistan’ told the story where some of the owner of dancing boy lived a double life. They have their own family, did pray 5 times a day and never ditch it but when the night came, they cheered seeing an 8-12 years old boys dancing and swaying their hips in front of them. At some point, those poor boys have to serve and please them. Seeing Zakia’s husband and father in law acting so pious and blaming the poor woman instead reminded me of them.

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Rukhsana’s husband, on the other hands, told the interviewer a completely different story. He claimed rukhsana had a mental illness and all the burnt scar on her face is caused by her own act. She poured the acid and gasoline oil on her face and body and she herself lit the fire. Nobody did it to her; her husband said it with smile on his face. The interviewer then asked about the burnt scar on his hand, he stated that he got it when he tried to save rukhsana from being burnt alive. Can you believe it? I don’t know how the journalist can handle Rukhsana’s Husband without being angry or enraged. I know they are supposed to be fair and not bias, but still, I was shaking like crazy, held my anger when I saw Rukhsana’s husband said it without any remorse.

Zakia's face after surgery.
Zakia’s face after surgery.

Dr. Mohammad Jawad, a plastic surgeon who lived in UK returned to his homeland, Pakistan just to help those victims to recover back what is left on their face. He did say he was angry but he try not to think about his anger and try to help them instead. He said that mostly those victims are very young and in the age range of 12-40. The perpetrators usually are their husbands, relatives or someone who is jealous and wanted to have revenge. There are series of interview clips showing that the victim told their story of how they got attacked and why the perpetrators did it. I still am in shock seeing how petty and coward those perpetrators are. Just because, she rejected your proposal or does not follow your order, you poured the acid on her. I just can’t believe it.