It’s one of those films which ingratiate themselves into your psyche and stay with you for an extended period, causing you to reflect on them all the next day and possibly the one after that. Today I decided which scene made the most meaningful statement and was, therefore, my favourite.
It wasn’t the spectacular fight scenes between the young and headstrong Jen and the mature, supremely beautiful Shu Lien. It wasn’t the heart-rending episode in which the master warrior Mu Bai finally tells Shu Lien that he loves her just as he is about to expire. It wasn’t young Jen, disguised as a boy, out-Clintoning Clint Eastwood by defeating all the bad guys in the ancient Chinese equivalent of the Last Chance saloon. It wasn’t the point at which she unexpectedly leaps off the bridge and flies into the mountains for ever.
Nope, it was the moment when Shu Lien spares Jen’s life and tells her to go to her lover who is waiting for her in Wudan, even though Jen’s obsessive self-interest has just led to the death of her own loved one, Mu Bai.
That’s the point when I suspect most people would say ‘Isn’t that lovely? She forgave her.’ And I would have to say ‘You’re missing the point, I think. It isn’t about forgiveness; it’s about having the spiritual maturity to exist in a state of grace and equanimity.’
And maybe I’d be wrong, but that’s how I saw it because it's that sort of film. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, I would recommend watching it.