The Painted Veil, (2006 Film) brings the holder into an intense and exotic series of scenes reflective of science and culture. Flowers bloom to fold and die. Microbes flash over turn of the 20th century Chinese as they bustle about their daily lives, as if to ask where does the science end and the soul begin? Are humans no more important than the microbes they are originally made of?
It is 1925 China. A cart pulls away leaving a British woman standing in an elegant summer hat and a light blue mid weather coat, staring at the mountain view, of a lush, tropical world composed of crop fields surrounded by wild mountain growth. Her husband has his back to her as he watches the cart plod on. In between them is a massive amount of luggage. This is Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Fane.
Chinese rock diggers gaze at them. Kitty looks about while splashing a puddle with her saddle shoe and remembers back to how she met her husband.
There is a lively party in London, at the home of Kitty, who dresses to make note of her dark hair, done in style and expressive blue eyes. She descends the stairs to stroll elegantly and gives a tense smile to her mother, who does not respond but turns her head quickly to mingle with the guests.
Kitty spies her father wearing a tux and reading a book in the library. Then she is greeted by Walter, who asks her to dance. "Why not?" she replies.
Later while in the drawing room the family asks who the young man she was dancing with was. She replies, "Which one?" It is brought about that he is a Doctor and civil servant who runs a medical research laboratory in Shanghai. And it is asked if he is in love with her. She says she does not know but that she is not in love with him.
Kitty is asked by her mother how long she expects her father to go on supporting her. In humiliation she leaves and is met by Walter with a box of chocolates at the front door. So, eventually she journeys to Shanghai and from there to rural China were there is a cholera epidemic. Cholera is a nasty disease, that can drain the body of all fluids quite quickly.
Kitty is brought into the epidemic by her husband, who insists she attend to him to "cheer and comfort," him. "No," she replies and says it is monstrous he should ask. He then blackmails her into going by saying if she doesn't, he will file for divorce based on adultery.
Kitty insists her lover, Charlie, really does love her and Walter has her bags packed while she makes a jackass out of herself by attempting to have Charlie marry her. And so the two traverse to a river town about a ten day journey from Shanghai.
While there, they really get to know each other. Walter succumbs to cholera, while Kitty is pregnant and by who she does not know. Walter had said that it did not matter and the saddest element is that the two simply did not have more time.
By Sarah Bahl