The sudden coronavirus epidemic interrupted Peng Yinhua and his wife’s planned wedding, and the undistributed invitations were still in the drawer. As a respiratory physician at the First People’s Hospital of Jiangxia District in Wuhan, when the epidemic came, Peng Yinhua had the responsibility to go to the front line of the war against the “epidemic”. Chinese New Year’s Eve two people stood two or three hundred meters apart, facing each other, and talked on a phone. People have no way of knowing what they’re saying.
The next day, Peng Yinhua was infected and never had the opportunity to stand in the postponed wedding and be the one who kissed the bride. Less than a month later, the plague snatched the 29-year-old groom-to-be from his lover.
Also taken away by the virus was Wu Shilei. He and his wife Xia Sisi are both doctors and have been together for 11 years. “From the time she was hospitalized until she left, she hid it from her children. But now, I don’t know what to tell my child that I lost his mother. On February 23, Xia Sisi’s death made this big man cry.
An epidemic has made many people feel that love is stronger than death, that the water cannot be extinguished, and the water cannot be submerged. After the pandemic, we need to love each other. However, for others, being forced to be imprisoned at home with their families and looking at each other 24 hours a day also magnifies the contradictions that have never appeared before, and love is not easier because of the epidemic, but more difficult. Some people say: As soon as the epidemic passes, we will go to divorce. Being imprisoned at home, looking at each other and not pleasing each other’s eyes, and unable to love each other, has become a stronger cage for us, as if we can imprison people for a lifetime.
Those who were left
Looking back at December 2019, the movie “The Man Taken by the Light” released on the last quiet days of the year, it seems to have a special feeling. Coincidentally, this film happened to be filmed in Yichang, Hubei Province. Director and screenwriter Dong Runian presuppose an extreme situation similar to the plague in the film: a magical white light suddenly descends, and people in love mysteriously disappear in pairs. Under the sci-fi shell, the camera focuses on those left by the light.
White light seems to be the judge who understands the true meaning of love, dividing people in two according to secret standards. When the pair of “Liang Shanbo” and “Zhu Yingtai” who were summoned by the white light disappeared, how should these people on the earth who were abandoned by love live? The plague is a bit like that white light, enclosing us in a small space, forcing us to ask ourselves whether the person who once swore with us, shared a bed, and met with the white head is still true love.
The film chooses several different sets of protagonists to express different love dilemmas. Liu Jiayi, a rich woman, secretly took the household registration book and planned to get married to her boyfriend. Due to the opposition of their parents, their love suffered setbacks, and the appearance of white light made Liu Jiayi doubt love. Faced with Liu Jiayi’s suspicions, her boyfriend jumped down from the stairs – is it, not true love to die for her beloved? Is this desire to desperately possess the other person’s love? “In order to possess you, I will not hesitate to die”. If you can’t get it, you don’t hesitate to destroy your girlfriend by rape, and then destroy yourself.
Whether there is love between them or not, it is certain that they have passion. Many couples who have been married for many years have even exhausted this passion. Wu Wenwen, played by Huang Bo, and Zhang Yan, played by Tan Zhuo, are a middle-aged couple with a daughter who is in middle school, a family of three, firewood, rice, oil, and salt, just like the neighbors we met walking in the community. The seemingly harmonious husband and wife relationship has cracked with the appearance of white light, or in other words, cracks have long existed, and white light makes it invisible.
Wu Wen’s mother gave a verdict on behalf of Bai Guang: “She doesn’t love you anymore, you don’t love her anymore, you don’t love her anymore.” There are only a few possibilities. Although Wu Wen has always tried to deny it, his heart gradually doubts and wavers about the love between the two. As an excellent teacher, Wu Wenwen has never crossed the thunder pond in the face of the emotional offensive of female colleagues, and their relationship is simply exemplary compared to many bloody couples who eventually break up unhappily.
But on the other hand, two people under the same roof have long lost their passion, and even the bed scene of the husband and wife at the beginning of the film is halfway through the discussion of martial arts title evaluation. It’s a scene like Eliot’s poem, “Thank goodness, this is finally over.” In addition to the evaluation of professional titles, the husband and wife seem to have no intersection, and love is like being in the “wasteland”.
Under the illumination of white light, this bland and tasteless husband and wife relationship can hardly be called “love”. Therefore, Wuwen used “family affection” as a cover in front of his daughter, and created the illusion that love was still there in front of colleagues and friends. Conversely, it is scarcity that camouflage is needed. The cruel years left the couple with only trivial matters, except for the children’s tuition and grades, washing pots and dishes, and living expenses, the two can no longer think of other common topics.
Where is love?
When Wu Wenwen discovered the ambiguous text messages between his wife and his daughter’s classmate Zhao Feng, perhaps on the one hand filled his chest with anger, on the other hand, he breathed a sigh of relief, it turned out that the fault was not me, and his wife was responsible for the loveless marriage. Perhaps the wife is not responsible, the crux of the marriage problem lies with the third party, driving him away, and their marriage will be completely new. Therefore, Wu Wen found Zhao Feng and swore that if Zhao Feng had not appeared, there would be no rift in the relationship between him and his wife. Unexpectedly, Zhao Feng asked: “Why do you think that the problem between the two of you is me, why don’t you face the reality – you just don’t love each other?”
Zhao Feng saw through the hypocrisy of martial arts at a glance, “I used to be as hypocritical as you, and I always felt that if I admit that there is no love, the husband and wife can’t face each other… It wasn’t until this light appeared that I suddenly realized that this light was the final judgment that warned us not to lie again. It tears off the pretense of all of us, everyone is equal and everyone is real. ”
For those who believe that love is the foundation of marriage, it is difficult to admit that there is no love between husband and wife, which means that the legitimacy of the existence of marriage has been fundamentally shaken. For many people, two seem to be difficult to have both fish and bear’s paw, and it seems that to maintain a marriage it is necessary to say goodbye to love, and to find love it is necessary to endure the breakdown of marriage. Wu Wenwen received a confession text message from a female colleague at this time, marriage or love?
The way Zhao Feng and his wife face a loveless marriage is to neither save the marriage nor save love. Since the camouflage has been torn, then the jar is broken and broken, and it falls to the end. Under the empty shell of a marriage, they openly lived a life of sexual promiscuity. Wu Wen was persuaded by Zhao Feng to admit the fact that there was no love between himself and his wife, but he still looked forward to love, so he accepted the confession of his female colleague, intending to rediscover the passion of love outside of marriage.
However, is true love outside of marriage? This question was answered by the director through Li Nan, played by Wang Luodan. When the white light occurred, Li Nan was waiting outside the Civil Affairs Bureau to go through the divorce procedures with her husband, but her husband disappeared. It is neither herself nor the mistress who cheated on her husband and disappeared with her husband. In this way, by mistake, Li Nan began to track down the truth of her husband’s disappearance with Xiaomian to know who his true love was.
In the pursuit, the women who have emotional entanglements with their husband appear one by one, allowing her to discover the harsh reality of love. When he first got married, his husband felt that he had found the other half of his dreams, and he loved Li Nan’s independence. However, time passed, and Li Nan’s independence gradually became a lack of interest in her husband’s eyes, and love slowly disappeared. He began to look for love outside of marriage. He fell in love with the enthusiasm of the mistress, but he couldn’t stand the entanglement of the other party… The husband began to look for love from relationship to relationship, but love was always elusive and came and went in a hurry. Finding love by constantly changing people is like drinking to quench your thirst. In the end, Li Nan’s husband did not disappear with any lover but died unexpectedly in a car accident. Until his death, the husband could not find true love in anyone.
Save yourself before you save the love
When Li Nan learned that her husband was looking for love from a woman, she felt very relieved, it turned out that the problem was not in herself or in the mistress, but that her husband “loves everyone, and no one loves.” In other words, the reason why love disappears is not so much that the other person is no longer cute, but that he is incapable of love.
Wu Wen and his female colleagues opened a house and began a journey to find love outside of marriage. What he will face in the future may be the same as Li Nan’s husband. But the director reserved a little reflective ability for martial arts. While waiting for his female colleague in his hotel room, Wu Wen was anxious and struggling, and at one point wanted to escape. When he finally invites his female colleague into the room, he realizes that it is futile to find salvation outside of marriage, because the crux of everything is not in others, the root of the problem is himself.
Clearing his wife’s affair partner will not save his marriage; looking for another relationship will not save his love, all he needs is to start with himself. The white light that broke into the couple’s life forced his marriage into a corner, and he could not continue to pretend that everything was business as usual. Just like the plague at the turn of winter and spring, it can have the same effect on your and my lives.
“Subconsciously, I want to say that the responsibility for me and my wife not being taken away by the light is not mine. I asked you out to get revenge or for some other reason, but I was thinking about myself. I’m a hypocrite. Wu Wenwen said, “I quarreled with Zhang Yan before, and I hated her.” Even thinking about the brain slipped away, thinking that she encountered some bad pictures… Actually, over the years, I know you like me. Often when I face you, I even think of some dishonorable things. After slowly realizing it, I will take my thoughts back. When I was younger, I had more dirty thoughts, and at that time I would secretly feel inferior, and I would worry that others would detect my thoughts and look down on me. Later, I slowly began to forgive myself and explain all this in terms of ego, id, and superego. ”
After listening to the self-analysis of martial arts, the female colleague agreed, “We are all too confident, we feel that others are hell, what about ourselves?” and “We are no longer in love”, which are the reasons that many couples give themselves. The deeper reality observed by Wuwen is that “we are no longer in love because my brain often slips around because my thoughts are full of dirt.” The bigger truth is that “I am a selfish sinner.” How to redeem a loveless marriage? Like Zhao Feng, husband, and wife fall into sexual depravity together. Like Li Nan’s lover, chase ideal love everywhere outside marriage? The film points to the third way through martial literature: dealing with one’s own problems in marriage.
Wu Wen not only reflected on what he did but more importantly, on what kind of person he was. This brief self-reflection may not be unfamiliar to us. When arguing with our lover, we may also experience the dryness of love in ourselves, and sometimes solve our marital difficulties through fantasies about others. In either case, according to martial arts, the root is that “I am thinking about myself.” “The people left in the camera who are left with light are essentially loving themselves more, despite the different cloaks they wear.
Stop loving people like fish
Contemporary Jewish Rabbi A. Abraham J. Twerski has a wise talk about love.
“The word love has almost lost its original meaning in our culture. A rabbi met a young man who was enjoying a meal of fish and asked, ‘Young man, why are you eating this fish?’ He said, ‘Oh, you love this fish.’ So you scoop it out of the water, kill it and cook it. Don’t tell me you love this fish, it’s not love, you love yourself. You think the fish is delicious and eat it. ’”
In Tversky’s view, most of the world’s so-called love is similar to the love of young people in the story about fish. It means that the man sees in the woman that the other person can meet his physical and emotional needs. At the same time, the other party also thinks that he can feel the so-called ‘love’ from the man. But both parties are just looking for their own needs in each other, not love for each other. The other person becomes a tool to meet their own needs. There are too many so-called ‘loves’ in the world, just the kind of love for fish. Tversky argues that true love “is not about what I get, it’s about what I give.”
True love must be the experience of selfless pleasure. And most of the couples in the film have lost the ability to get pleasure from sacrificing for each other. Wu Wen’s female colleague said, “We… She continued, “Who can control hell?” Through the mouth of a female colleague, the director may want to express that this love that only cares about himself needs to be saved, but the question is where does salvation come from?
The modern prevalent ethic of self-actualization can destroy marriage. Christian theologian Hou Huoshi said: “This ethic holds that the purpose of marriage and family institutions is primarily to achieve personal fulfillment, to make us whole and happy. This theory assumes that there is a person who is the best fit for us, and if we look carefully, we can find that person. In fact, the point of marriage is… Learn how to care for the stranger you marry. ”
Self-centeredness is the most damaging problem in many marriages, and it is a cancer in marriage. American pastor Timothy Keller believes that there is no way out for today’s culture to preach “self-centered marriage”, and that only when both parties continue to put each other’s happiness before their own can they find their own happiness.
When the Bible refers to marriage, it compares it to a great mystery that symbolizes Jesus’ relationship with humanity. The most important manifestation of the love of husband and wife is a sacrifice for each other, “love is not seeking one’s own good”. The source of this self-serving love is Christ. “Jesus… He sacrificed everything so that we might be united with Him… This practice has completely changed our attitude and way of life. Keller’s advice is straightforward: “What God has done for you in Jesus, you will do for your spouse, and everything else will fall into place.” ”
As in the interactive topic “Love in the Plague Period” before “Realm”, a female doctor once said in the heart: “I have confidence in the epidemic, but I have no confidence in our feelings”. When the white light flashes, when the plague dissipates, may you and I experience self-sacrificing love from the source of love for the rest of our lives and use it to love the people around us.