This afternoon I saw a movie called “画魂” (Hua Hun, or Soul of a Painter). The movie stars GongLi, and as expected is a very sad, rather tragic, and moving story. While some people find her grating, she has a great talent on the screen, and it was fun to see director Zhang Yimou in a small role as well. I was interested to see that the movie was directed by a woman, Huang Shuqin. Considering the amazing works of art by Pan Yuliang, it is sad to see people more interested with her illustrious life, her beginnings in a brothel and marriage as a second wife.
Her work and outstanding place as an artist, as a woman who worked so hard to make it, to stand by her artwork, even at the risk of her life, her happiness. In fact, her perseverence and strength as an artist took a lot away from her, but she still let the art move through her. She also worked so hard to be seen in her own country. This, to me, is more interesting than her lurid past. Her amazing eye for the female figure, her use of color, her daring crossing of art styles from Europe and China. Those are what make me see her as an amazing woman.
The China Daily wrota about Pan Yuliang’s work, but fell into the same trap of sensationalism with the title, “From Red Lights to Painting the Town Red“. CRI (China Radio International) has also written about her work in a segment on culture.
Her work truly is really neat, though my words don’t really do enough justice. The movie is worth seeing, if only for it’s true to life moments and moving bits of simplicity. At times the verbal sparcity and packed meaning overwhelmed me.
Pan Yuliang is someone I can say I admire and hope to learn more about.