“You are the apple of my eye. 那些年，我們一起追的女孩.”
***warning, potential spoilers for movie of the above name.***
An almost beautiful story. Its funny how an ending can spoil a story just like that. Its also funny how knowing an ending in advance can spoil a story, but that’s a discourse in itself.
In effect, we kindof already known. At the beginning of the movie, the main character is pictured to be preparing to go for a wedding, he gazes at an apple lying on his desk, his friends ask him to hurry, but he isn’t in a suit. He isn’t the groom. Oh dear. But we did not realise then, we were swiftly caught up in the beautiful and funny cycling metaphors and introduction to characters. A good blend of classical intro techniques – voice over intro, humour. It worked. It set the tone for a past tense narration and it swiftly moved on. It introduced the main main cast: the group of boys who were classmates. It, oddly enough, is like how we remember the good old days: all the pranks and acts we did in school, all the times we broke rules, all the times we got into trouble and escaped, or did not, all the exams, the crazy days. That was how we remember the past. Everything else is a whirlwind blur of swift flowing sand. And for the boys, of course they remember the girl they had an absolute crush on. Yes, crush is the right word. Crushes, puppy loves, heartbreaks. It all seemed real enough, strong enough. It was enough for a boy to dream on, just like Tom Sawyer had a child-like tumultus crush on that girl. Oh I suppose she seemed lovely, oh I suppose she seemed the world, oh yes she was always too mature, and good in a good girl sort of way. The fairly pretty and fairly studious ones would have had the odd alluring attractiveness, would they not?
It was a story of the boys. And all the things they did. Sure, much of it revolved around this particular pair of girls. Haha. Did they know it was a childish immature fancy that would come to naught?
“There are many things we do which would have no purpose.” Oh girl, how you cursed his love and hope for you just then. In his childish immature way he did love you, and you in your childish immature way, even though you hated his laziness and immaturity, you loved him too. As far as we could tell, you two loved each other, even though the furthest you two went was ‘I like you’, even if you never held hands, even if there wasn’t a proper official date. You two never stopped caring for each other, even if from afar. You two always had a secret soft spot that even your current husband, with his slick businessman hair, could never comprehend. You two, will forever be the youthful immature halves of each other. If things were different, you told yourself, if studies did not split you up, if he didn’t become so immature, if there wasn’t that One Big Fight, if he only Called, if it wasn’t already Too Late, if he wasn’t so immature which is who he really is, the Future might be different. But you are already in the White Gown and it is too late right now, there is also hardly time left in the movie for theatrics and you need to spare some screen time for the other boys.
If you live your Life so Seriously, if you cannot have someone beside you to laugh in the face of pain, of adversity, of bleakness and desperation, how are you going to conquer that with rationality, prudence, logic and maturity? For at the end, when faced with Eternity and Death, you just want someone who will stand there with you and laugh together at the sheer absurdity of it all and say “we’re good”.
Shame on you girl, shame on you for selling out on Love to age, money, maturity, security. Or at least that’s what I gathered from my perspective. Maybe he really loved you, or you really loved him, maybe you found truer better love, maybe.
Ah-hah, I was right, I had this nagging feeling that the film was a real story. It is. It was a semi-autobiography. It was too real. It was too senseless. It was too absurdly painful to watch. It was jarring and ridiculous at moments and difficult for someone to hatch it out of the blue and impose it on audiences. It was real. The romance and love and breakup and marriage were all real.
Remember the movie Jeux d’Enfants? It was funner to watch, made more sense. But okay, not real.
Remember W.B. Yeats’ poem
He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams.
Love is fragile. Declaring your love to someone you really love is a scary fragile act. Don’t trample on them.
One last thing, “那些年，我們一起追的女孩” is a weird title. “You are the apple of my eye” is a bizarre translation, but maybe their pet phrase. I think the title should mean Those Years, and The girl we chased together.