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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Rise of Phoenixes


The Rise of Phoenixes I Official Trailer I Netflix

The Rise of Phoenixes is a Chinese historical drama, set some number of millenia ago. The plot revolves around the machinations of the royal family, such as it as, and their associated hangers-on. It's in Chinese, at least I think it is, so we have poorly translated subtitles to read. Poorly translated? More like horribly butchered, but never mind, we have the original intonation, and from that and the actor's expressions we are able to pretty well deduce what the heck is going on. Sometimes it escapes us and we have to pause and remind each other just who that character who just got kilt was. But we are twenty episodes into this behemoth series and we're kind of just going with the flow.

The costumes and the sets are fabulous. Their idea of tailoring and personal adornment is very different than ours, but everyone wears clothes that cover their entire body except for their hands and their heads. The look of some of the scenes reminds me of Star Trek and James Bond movies. There's even one scene where this episode's bad guy is wearing a white shirt open to the waist. It's so unusual, you never see any skin in this show, even in the brothel.

China has had some kind of civilization for thousands of years, so I am watching this show and thinking about China, and I realize that while the show we are watching may be depicting a relative high point, the country has been able to support a certain number of nobility in luxury for a very, very long time.


From Episode 19 at the 21 minute mark, a scene with our girl (Q, also know as Wei Zhi) and the emperer (E):

E: Come, Wei Zhi. Play Go with me.
Q: Yes, Your Majesty.
E: Since you're not here to repay a kindness, what are your plans as a
     government official? Do you want status and fortune? Or do you want to
     safeguard the country well?
Q: Status and fortune, of course.
E: Out of so many government officials, over half of them want status and fortune,
     but you are the only one who dares to say that in front of me directly.
Q: Your Majesty. Half a year ago, I never would have agreed to become the
     Ultimate Scholar. I only wanted to travel and see the world. Isn't it great to live      freely?
E: Why did you change your mind after half a year?
Q: Because during that period, I discovered that anyone who lives in this world
     without power and authority is destined to be at the mercy of others.
     One can live freely in this world only by having a high status and authority.
E: Wei Zhi. How old are you?
Q: Less that 20 years old. Why did Your Majesty suddenly ask this?
E: Even though you're very smart, you're just a boy. You'll understand later on.           The higher your position and authority, the harder it gets to live by your own
     rules.
Q: Even if you're the Emperor?
E: I'm the person who can live the least by my own accord.

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