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What exactly is “painted skin” – Chinese movie 画皮 2 [PAINTED SKIN: THE RESURRECTION]

Posted by Grace Feng on January 24, 2013

Chinese reading practice (beginner), a Chinese movie and a song - PAINTED SKIN: THE RESURRECTION 画皮2If you ask any native Chinese who was the very first Chinese that wrote horror or ghost stories, you might get the same answer from anyone you ask – 蒲松龄 Pú Sōnglíng. He was the writer of 聊斋志异 Liáozhāi Zhìyì ”Strange Tales of Liaozhai”, a book that was a collection of nearly 500 supernatural stories that feature fox spirits, ghosts, woman and man of all kinds. The book was written about 300 years ago at the beginning of Qing dynasty. Most of the stories were reflections of the society, romance, social relationships and politics, but in a intertwined world of human and non-human. The writer often sought a better and purer soul in the non-human figures, such as a fox spirit, to use as a contrast to the dark side of human nature.

Those stories had been made into many versions of movies and TV episodes in China. 画皮 huàpí (painted skin) was one of the best and most scary stories in the book. I still remember when I was watching an old movie of 画皮 huàpí  in my childhood, I was almost scared to death. I was sitting on the lap of my Dad in the cinema. When the daemon appeared on the screen and was about to enter the man’s bedroom my Dad covered my eyes with his hand. However, through his fingers I was able to watch the whole process of how the daemon entered the room and gauged out the man’s heart and swallowed it. What followed was a long period of nightmares and life long addict of horror movies, go figure. :-))

In this post, I’d like to recommend you to a Chinese movie that was released half year ago (2012) of this kind – 画皮 huàpí II (PAINTED SKIN: THE RESURRECTION). However, this movie, which is the second of the series, was not based on the book of 聊斋志异 Liáozhāi Zhìyì. It’s sort of a new story made out of the same roles of the first movie – 画皮 huàpí  I, which was made in 2008. The first movie was based on story 画皮 huàpí in 聊斋志异 Liáozhāi Zhìyì.

To help you understand better, “painted skin” is actually a whole woman’s skin that the fox spirit uses to wear so she (being called a “妖 yāo daemon” in the movie) can appear as a real woman. To maintain the human skin that the fox spirit wears, she must eat enough human hearts – that is to say, she has to kill in order to live among humans without being identified as a daemon. However, fox spirits are usually very persistent in love. Most of them long for the real human life and would love to become human at all cost. As for the story of the movie, I’ll just let you to figure out by yourself.

After watching this second movie, I found out that not only the movie itself was very well done (actually a love epic), but also the theme song was very touching. For readers that also love the song, I post its MV and lyrics (with translation) under the movie as well. Hope you like it.

 

(lyrics translation curtsey of echowillow.livejournal.com)

画心
huà xīn
Painting heart

作曲:藤原育郎 作词:陈少琪
zuò qǔ :téng yuán yù láng zuò cí :chén shǎo qí
Composer: Ikurou Fujiwara  Lyricist: Keith Chan

歌手:张靓颖
gē shǒu :zhāng liàng yǐng
Singer: Zhang Liang Ying
看不穿 是你失落的魂魄
kàn bú chuān shì nǐ shī luò de hún pò
Oblivious to your dispirited soul

猜不透 是你瞳孔的颜色
cāi bú tòu shì nǐ tóng kǒng de yán sè
Unaware it was in the colour of your pupils

一阵风 一场梦
yī zhèn fēng yī chǎng mèng
A gust of wind; a waking dream

爱如生命般莫测 (爱是生命的莫测)
ài rú shēng mìng bān mò cè (ài shì shēng mìng de mò cè)
Love, like life, ever so full of mysteries (Love is life’s deepest mysteries)

你的心 到底被什么蛊惑
nǐ de xīn dào dǐ bèi shí me gǔ huò
Your heart, what has bewitched it so?

你的轮廓在黑夜之中淹没
nǐ de lún kuò zài hēi yè zhī zhōng yān méi
Your outline fades into the dark night

看桃花 开出怎样的结果
kàn táo huā kāi chū zěn yàng de jié guǒ
Look at the peach blossoms, what fruits will it bear?

看着你抱着我
kàn zhe nǐ bào zhe wǒ
I watch you embrace me

目光似月色寂寞 (目光比月色寂寞)
mù guāng sì yuè sè jì mò (mù guāng bǐ yuè sè jì mò)
With eyes lonely like the moonlight (With eyes lonelier than the moonlight)

就让你 在别人怀里快乐
jiù ràng nǐ zài bié rén huái lǐ kuài lè
It’s time to let you seek happiness in the arms of another

爱着你 像心跳难触摸
ài zhe nǐ xiàng xīn tiào nán chù mō
Loving you has become intangible like a heartbeat

画着你 画不出你的骨骼
huà zhe nǐ huà bú chū nǐ de gǔ gé
I’m unable to construct your skeleton as I paint you

记着你的脸色 是我等你的执着
jì zhe nǐ de liǎn sè shì wǒ děng nǐ de zhí zhuo
To remember your expression is my stubborn way of waiting for you

你是我 一首唱不完的歌
nǐ shì wǒ yī shǒu chàng bú wán de gē
You are my endless song

你的轮廓在黑夜之中淹没
nǐ de lún kuò zài hēi yè zhī zhōng yān méi
Your outline fades into the dark night

看桃花 开出怎样的结果
kàn táo huā kāi chū zěn yàng de jié guǒ
Look at the peach blossoms, what fruits will it bear?

看着你抱着我
kàn zhe nǐ bào zhe wǒ
I watch you embrace me

目光比月色寂寞
mù guāng bǐ yuè sè jì mò
With eyes lonelier than the moonlight

就让你 在别人怀里快乐
jiù ràng nǐ zài bié rén huái lǐ kuài lè
It’s time to let you seek happiness in the arms of another

爱着你 像心跳难触摸
ài zhe nǐ xiàng xīn tiào nán chù mō
Loving you has become intangible like a heartbeat

画着你 画不出你的骨骼
huà zhe nǐ huà bú chū nǐ de gǔ gé
I’m unable to construct your skeleton as I paint you

记着你的脸色 是我等你的执着
jì zhe nǐ de liǎn sè shì wǒ děng nǐ de zhí zhuo
To remember your expression is my stubborn way of waiting for you

我的心 只愿为你而割舍
wǒ de xīn zhī yuàn wéi nǐ ér gē shě
My heart sheds only for you

 

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Learn Chinese from Chinese TV episodes – 新结婚时代 (11)
A movie with simple plot, simple mandarin, but deep emotions: The Road Home - 我的父亲母亲

 

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2 Responses to “What exactly is “painted skin” – Chinese movie 画皮 2 [PAINTED SKIN: THE RESURRECTION]”

  1. nothing

    Thomas Doherty:

    04-08-2013 12:37 am

    Right above Youtube windows you have “After watching this second movie, I found out that not the movie itself was very well done….”. I think you want the word “only” after “not” to get “After watching this second movie, I found out that not only the movie itself was very well done…”

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      04-08-2013 3:17 am

      Good catch, Tom. Get it corrected now, thanks! :-)

      Grace

      Reply

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