Duvak - Painted Veil (2006)

12/27/2010 12:51:29

Director: John Curran

Writer: Ron Nyswaner (screenplay), W. Somerset Maugham (novel)

Leading Roles: Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Live Schreiber

Country: China, USA, Canada

Runtime: 125 minutes


The year is 1925, and Kitty is an upper class socialite closing in on an age when a proper lady must find a husband. To remainunwedmuch longer would be highly unbecoming, not to mention humiliating for her exceedingly socially conscious mother.

Bored with herprivilegedlifestyle anyway andyearningfor escape, Kitty accepts aproposalof marriage from Dr. Walter Fane, a quiet, serious bacteriologist who moves the new couple to Shanghai.

In the strange city, the Fanesventureinto British colonial society, where they are introduced to English Vice Consul Charles Townsend. While Walterdedicateshimself to his work and to his new wife, Kittyembarkson anadulterousaffair with Charlie.

After Walter learns of herindiscretion, he accepts a job in aremotevillage in Chinaravagedby the deadly cholera epidemic. Seized byvengeance, he forces adespondentKitty to accompany him.

Walter and Kittybarelyspeak to each other and, except for a cook and a Chinese soldier assigned to guard her, she is alone for long hours. After visiting anorphanagerun by a group of Frenchnuns, Kitty volunteers her services, and she is assigned to work in the music room. She is surprised to learn from the Mother Superior that her husband loves children, especially babies, and in this setting she begins to see him in a new light as she learns what aselflessand caring person he can be. When he sees her with the children, he in turn realizes she is not theshallow, selfish person he thought her to be.

As Walter's anger and Kitty's unhappinesssubside, their marriage begins toblossom. She soon learns she is pregnant, but is unsure who the father is. Walter - in love with Kitty again -assuresher it doesn't matter.

Just as the local cholera problem is coming under control,ailingrefugees from elsewhere pour into the area, forcing Walter to set up a camp outside town. He contracts the disease and Kittynurseshim, but he dies,devastatingher.

Five years later, while shopping with her young son Walter in London, Kitty meets Townsend by chance on the street. He suggests the two get together and asks young Walter his age, realising from the reply that he could be Walter's father. Kitty, however,rejectshisoverturesand walks away. When her son asks who Townsend is, she replies "No one important".

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