Questions for this day
Underlined areas are the likely focus of in-class discussion.
I. Select ONE of the below to include on your written submission. (Always include question number and question content.)
FLY(2)-1. Identify "layering" in these scenes (not deception where a representation of some sort does not match reality, but rather multiple loyalties, multiple promises, feelings of love for two people or things at the same time, etc.)
II. Select ONE of the below to include on your written submission. (Always include question number and question content.)
FLY(2)-2. What are the processes Mei goes through to determine whether or not to love Jin / Wind? (This is a slightly different question than asking what is lovable about Jin.)
FLY(2)-3. What is the balance between disciplined choice-making and giving in to instinct in these scenes?
FLY(2)-4. Does Mei think seduction is OK? Does Jin think seduction is OK? What is the role of seduction when the one being seduced knows that he or she is being seduced?
III. Do not answer this question on your written submission. This is meant to facilitate the day's discussion only.
FLY(2)-5. Who deceives whom in these scenes?
Scene summaries—DVD menu scenes 8-14 (0:25:43-0:56:26, elapsed time 0:32)
Note: All scene summaries for all movies were made by me, usually fairly quickly while viewing the film in real time and typing as it happens. There are bound to be errors. I remind students of the extra credit offer described at the scene summary section of the page "House of Flying Daggers-Module 01".
Scene 8 (Mei and Jin get to know each other)
Jin tells Mei that he goes by the name "Wind," and is carefree. Jin then tells Mei that he hates the government and wants to find the Flying Daggers.
Mei touches various parts of Jin's body (starting low), learning through her finger tips that Jin is skilled in the martial arts, that he is sincere, that he holds his liquor well, and that he is young.
Scene 9 (Mei and Jin are ambushed)
Mei hears someone approaching in the forest. Jin and Mei begin to flee. While then are running, Mei says she has lost her daggers so Jin leaves her to look for them.
While Jin is gone, Mei is attacked fiercely by soldiers wearing the same uniform as Leo. Just as Mei is about to be killed by four of these soldiers, Jin lets loose four arrows from afar, striking down each of them. Mei then becomes tearfully grateful. Both continue running.
Once they are far enough away the soldiers stand up. It appears the arrows were skillfully aimed at parts of their clothing. This was done by Jin and Leo to deceive Mei into trusting Jin, and ultimately leading him to the Flying Daggers.
Scene 10 (Mei and Jin express their desire)
While Jin strikes camp he asks where the Daggers are and Mei replies simply that if they continue going north, the Daggers will appear.
In this scene, we learn that Mei arrived at the Peony Pavilion on her own, in order to exact revenge for her father who was killed by the government.
Jin makes a forest spring into a comfortable looking bath for Mei, saying he will "not take advantage of her". He walks away. He "tings" his sword so she knows he is in the foresta distance away (that is, not watching her bathe); while there, however, he leaves a red ribbon as a sign for Leo. Further, he hangs his sword and sneaks back to watch her bathe (he has tied a squirrel to the sword so that it will continue to "ting"), but Mei knows he is there. She simply allowed Jin to watch her.
Jin has Mei dress in a man's clothes, as a disguise. This begins an erotic moment between them; Mei is open to Jin's advances because he has saved her life. However, once Jin has pushed her to the ground, she asks gently stops him. She says she does not know him well enough, but it seems she is remembering someone else. In fact because of the hand-held camera effect, we are to think that someone is watching them.
Scene 11 (Leo warns Jin to be careful with the cunning Mei)
When Mei falls asleep, Jin meets with Leo in the forest. Jin is warned by Leo not to fall for her. "Don't turn a game into reality and ruin our plan." Jin, for his part, does not tell Leo the one clue he has about where the Daggers are (in the north). … In fact, Leo is Mei's secret lover so he has double reason to ask Jin not to become involved in Mei; and Mei's coolness in the prior scene was because she felt Leo close at hand.
Scene 12 (Jin gives Mei flowers)
In a short scene in the fields, Mei says she smells flowers and reminds Jin that he had promised her, when he was in the Peony Pavilion, that he would take her to where real flowers grow. Jin dashes about on horse, collecting a bouquet that he then gives her, placing the most beautiful flower behind her ear.
Scene 13 (ambushed for real this time)
Jin and Mei are suddenly set upon again by government troops. This time, however, it seems they are entirely intent on killing or capturing both of them. Jin tried to "shush" them away but they ignored his signals and did not believe him. Jin is slashed badly in the thigh by a sword.
Both Jin and Mei start killing government soldiers. As the fight progresses and they become surrounded, they start to hold hands. During this fight the same song sung at the beginning of the film about how beauties can bring down kingdoms is here as well. Jin becomes wounded and would've been killed had not darts from the forest, (shot by Daggers?), saved them at the last moment.
Scene 14 (Mei says she trusts Jin)
Mei will not say who it was who saved them. But she does say to Jin, "This time, I believe that you're for real." (So she understood that the other ambush was staged…)
This time Mei affectionately touches and tries to kiss Jin, but Jin seems conflicted and pushes Mei away. It seems they understand who each one is and that this is a difficult love that cannot be. She cries and asks him to leave but he says he has come this far and cannot.
Jin then meets secretly with Leo in the forest who explains that the general has taken over the scheme and sent soldiers to kill Jin and Mei; it was not his doing. Leo also states that he is "tortured" about this. (Leo loves Mei and she is in mortal danger and Jin is becoming romantically involved with her.)
Leo warns that there are still more troops and they have orders to kill. He gives Jin his quill of arrows and tells him it is either kill or be killed. However, Jin tosses them aside and says that he quits.