Drama D. Curran The Painted Veil (2006) based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham is a tragic, poignant story of love, the heroine’s growing up through mistakes and trials. Not recommended for fans of action movies, fans of a dynamic, vivid show. But it is perfectly perceived by a thoughtful audience, able to hear and evaluate what is happening on the screen.
The film is incredibly attractive, despite the fact that it did not have a box office success, as well as high-profile awards. What is the magic of this sad picture?
Cinema through time
The film tells about the events of the 20s of the last century. However, eternal themes do not have a strict time frame: indifference and betrayal, duty and love, suffering and death always accompany human life. In all eras, people have lived, experienced strong emotions, made mistakes, and died. Who knows what test fate has prepared for each of us? Slow narration sets the viewer in a philosophical mood and allows you to think about the eternal, moving away from the everyday fuss.
The path is the same for all and leads nowhere.
The film’s only award was a Golden Globe for Best Soundtrack, although the film clearly deserves more. The wonderful play of the bright Naomi Watts and the inimitable Edward Norton evokes sincere empathy. The camera work is very good, the picturesque landscapes of the mountainous provinces of China are mesmerizing.
The meaning of the name
Many viewers have a question: why is the film history called “Painted Veil”? What does the veil symbolize in the context of this story? In fact, the name is multivariate, and each of its interpretations is interesting in its own way, from the subtleties of translation to the associative series.
- The literal translation of the English name The Painted Veil is the painted veil. The novel of the same name by S. Maugham is traditionally called “Patterned Cover”, which is practically a synonym. However, a literal translation does not always convey the entire gamut of semantic shades.
- One of the meanings of the word Painted is feigned, false, and Veil is not only a veil, but also a veil, a veil. Thus, semantic variants arise: a veil of lies or a veil of pretense. The veil of treason and lies stood between the main characters, overshadowed their true feelings.
- In Japanese or Chinese restaurants, a translucent painted curtain is used as a kind of screen from prying eyes.
- The veil can be seen as a means to hide from the reality of life. Almost a mask that hides the owner’s true feelings. Kitty tries unsuccessfully to hide behind such an imaginary veil.
You see: she covers her face with a handkerchief – she mourns her grief.
- The veil of naivety and dreaminess of the main character prevents her from seeing the real world. Such a veil of selfishness leads Kitty to a false understanding of really important things: she does not see the merits of her husband, and an affair with Charlie Townsend seems to her to be true love.
Treason as a starting point
The spoiled aristocrat Kitty hears from all sides hints that it is time to get married. She accepts the offer of Dr. Walter Fane, feeling absolutely no feelings for her husband. After the wedding, the couple travels to Mr. Fein’s duty station in Shanghai. Kitty does not love her husband, she is bored away from the high life of London, and a couple of years later she starts a secret romance. Like many women in a similar situation, it seems to an inexperienced heroine that Townsend is really in love with her and is even ready to marry.
Dr. Fein turns out to be much smarter and more perceptive than his wife, he immediately sees the essence of Charlie Townsend and all the vulgarity of fleeting adultery. A true Englishman, insulted to the core, Walter decides to leave Shanghai with his wife. Kitty is given a chance to change her life, to rethink intra-family relationships in unfamiliar conditions. Treason and betrayal of the heroine become the starting point for the story of a new life for both spouses.
Love through trials
Walter and Kitty Fein travel to the province of China, where a terrible cholera epidemic is raging. Monstrous conditions, daily danger to life reveal the characters of both from a previously unknown side. Having renounced her own selfishness, Mrs. Fein helps nuns to care for orphans.
Kitty grows up, it is here that she is able to appreciate the dignity of her husband. Love breaks out between the spouses, as a result of all the trials they become a real family.
Even the fact that Kitty is pregnant, most likely by her lover, is not of decisive importance in the proposed circumstances. Unfortunately, the epiphany and love of his wife came to Fein only at the end of his short life.
There is an English saying:
We know not what is good until we have lost it. A person does not appreciate the good until he has lost.
Russian analogue: What we have – we do not store, having lost – we cry.
The doctor becomes infected and dies. Until his last minute, Kitty loyally cares for her beloved husband.
Revelations from a nun
Revelations from the shrewd nun were added to the collection of catchphrases from the film, which have become famous quotes forever. An elderly respectable bride of the Lord in a confidential conversation expounds to the doctor’s wife healthy thoughts, sometimes very unexpected. About attitude to God – as it is:
As the years passed, my feelings changed.
It turns out that even feelings for the Almighty are subject to change over time.
He disappointed me with his indifference. We have established a relationship of mutual indifference.
About duty and love – from the point of view of a wise person:
Duty is washing your hands before eating, nothing more.
When love and duty are the same, it is God’s blessing.
The Painted Veil is an amazingly wise movie that makes you look at many things differently. After the final credits, there is a feeling of the fragility of human life and regret for the lost time.
In a world full of suffering, human relationships are often senselessly violent. Nobody is sinless, everyone makes mistakes. Are we destined to walk our path with dignity, will we have enough stamina and strength to rise after the falls?
Sometimes a step towards another is the greatest journey of life.
Patience, attention, steps towards each other will help to understand and forgive loved ones. After all, life is not an easy thing; sometimes too late you realize what is really important about it.