Film Still: The Painted Veil

Ei Nge Htut 6 November 2013

I am always reminded of this beautiful picture when I think of The Painted Veil. On first impression, it could almost be mistaken for a painting because of the innate stillness of the surrounding landscape. It perfectly captures the unspoiled beauty of 20th century China, with the huge expanse of river and mountains in the distant background.

However, your eyes are immediately drawn to the young couple in the boat. Their heads lean closely together and the umbrella seems to enclose them in a world of their own making. This picture expertly embodies the blossoming love story between Kitty, an upper-class woman and Walter, a middle-class doctor.

Kitty marries Walter for all the wrong reasons, relocates to Shanghai and consumed by unhappiness, embarks on an affair. Walter’s ultimate revenge is to accept a posting to a rural village, taking Kitty to a place where a cholera epidemic is raging. This journey gradually infuses their relationship with meaning and forgiveness. The picture is instilled with their renewed love for each other and is made particularly more poignant by a later tragedy.