Sunday, May 13, 2007

Leadership Lessons of the Movies: You’ll Never guess Which One (Number Twenty-One)

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
May 13, 2007

It has been too long since we have commented upon a film of interest. “Pavilion of Women” (2001) is a treat of a flick I had seen some time ago and it is worth another viewing.

This film is a brave attempt to understand Chinese and Western culture at the deepest level: what puts men and women a part and what puts them together.

In 1938, Ailian is the forty years old wife of a wealthy man, Mr. Wu. Mr. Wu belongs to the traditional Wu Family in China.

To understand how big this is: The Wu’s have a “Family Compound.”In order to get rid off her sexual obligations with her husband, Ailian gives Chiuming Wu, her husband, a very young and beautiful concubine.

Now to you readers from Cleveland this sounds like a really good deal but the complexities that ensue make this a problematic situation at best.

Andre (played by Willem DeFoe) is an American priest and doctor who takes care of an orphanage and becomes the tutor of Mrs. Wu’s eighteen years old son Fengmo Wu. Wu lives like a prince in “The Wu Compound.”

Father Andre starts giving classes to Fengmo, Ailian and Chiuming. Then, two forbidden loves will rise: between the priest and the first wife, and between the son and the concubine, having the invasion of China by the Japanese in a big picture shash up at the end.

This is one of Willem DeFoe’s bold and brave moves, for which we admire him very much.

Most of all this is a "culture class" for which I am hardly equipped to comment upon: my bride is Vietnamese and I as an American understand all things and all people. (?)

"If I cannot be with you in this life then I will be with you in the next."

Father Andre observes: "All love stories end the same, don't they?"

There is leadership in abundance from many corners of this finely prduced flick.

Buy, rent, steal or borrow "Pavilion of Women." You'll be glad you did.


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