Super me – A beautiful adaptation of Lu Dongbin dream

ethnic china

Super me – A beautiful adaptation of Lu Dongbin dream

In Brief: An adaptation of the myth of Taoist sage Lu Dong ping to the modern world. It manages to maintain a steady interest and combine Taoist teachings with some moralizing provided by the director.

A failed screenwriter, Sang Yu (Wang Talu), has been evicted from his home, had his computer stolen, his agent (Cao Bingkun) asked him to return the advance, and has to degrade himself to stealing from a supermarket in order to eat. His problem is that at night he suffers tremendous nightmares, which prevents him from sleeping and keeps him in a state of continuous excitement without being able to work either. He is about to commit suicide when he gets a little help from a street vendor, who advises him to learn to tell himself at the worst moment of the nightmare «I’m dreaming».

The opportunity to put that advice into practice comes when he falls fainting at the entrance of a supermarket. He is attacked by his ghosts, and when he is about to kill him, he says «I’m dreaming», and to his surprise not only the ghost disappears but the sword with which he was trying to kill him remains in the real world. When he goes to sell it he discovers that it has enormous value. The next night it is a hatchet, which he also sells for a large amount of money. From then on, to take advantage of this magical gift that allows him to turn the objects of his dreams into real ones, he causes them to develop in museums and other places where there is great wealth and soon becomes a rich man.

In reality his only dream is to be able to conquer the regent of a coffee shop who doubles as an occasional singer at night, Miss Hua (Song Jia). So he buys the dilapidated coffee shop business from her and also manages to increase business. They strike up a friendship, and when she wants to know where he gets the money, he confesses to being a screenwriter. To make his story credible, he starts writing again, manages to write a masterpiece and the production companies fight for his future projects, he is awarded in festivals and in a moment he becomes a star of the show business.

Not content with that, with his butler, his former literary agent, he plans to end the poverty that is at the root of all the evils of this world, and seeks to bestow the same gift he has on the rest of the people.

Suddenly things start to go wrong, all these riches seem to carry a price with them that is weakening him, and at the same time a gang of criminals have noticed his enormous riches and kidnap him threatening to kill him.

The film reinvents itself again and again in the last minutes, mixing the psychological concepts of ego and super ego, with already mythical conceptions in Chinese folklore, especially the myth of Lu Dongbin, one of the most important Taoist masters. The viewer then understands all the loose ends that seemed to be left out throughout the play. A tender ending emphasizes the victory of love over money. And a final nod to the master Zhuang zi, also a Taoist, makes us doubt again everything we have seen.

The film is tremendously original, masterfully directed and acted. It contains scenes that may be unforgettable in the history of cinema, tremendously poetic visions of Beijing, and raises some issues about love and money that are present on a daily basis in China today. Like many of the works being produced in China in recent years, as soon as one leaves these genres so cherished here of kung fu, monster movies and namby-pamby love, it is of great beauty and interest.

Wang Talu carries much of the acting weight and is believable in the different formats that his role forces him to adopt. The other actors almost serve only as accompaniment. The fantasy scenes, well, China already has such expertise in them that no fault can be found. I think it’s the right dose for what it wants to narrate.

It is a film that will be seen with pleasure by any fan of the seventh art, with a mythical component that at first glance is not present, the myth of Lu Dongbin, but that once understood puts in its right dimension each of the scenes.

Original title: 超级的我

Year 2019.

Running time: 1h. 42m

Directed by Zhang Chong

Screenplay by Zhang Chong:

Casting:

Wang Talu as Sang Yu.

Song Jia as Hua.

Cao Bingkun as the literary agent.

To cite this post: Ceinos-Arcones, Pedro, "Super me – A beautiful adaptation of Lu Dongbin dream," in Ethnic China, 17 mayo 2021, https://ethnic-china.com/super-me-a-beautiful-adaptation-of-lu-dongbin-dream/.

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