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Feng Xiaogang's blockbuster stirs mistrust between couples
( 2004-01-12 13:04) (Xinhua)

Never say you are at a meeting when you are answering your girlfriend's or wife's call and remember to delete messages that might cause any family war before you go home. It is no kidding in China after the movie "Cell Phone " debuted last month.

This new year's movie, quite unlike the past when new year celebration movie (hesuipian) usually brought hearty laughter to moviegoers, offers a seemingly merrymaking buffet "Cell Phone", a movie that, like the design of its poster + a hand grenade, has triggered quarrels and mistrust between couples.

The movie, produced by veteran "hesuipian" director Feng Xiaogang, tells how cell phone + the modern technology affects people's traditional life by portraying a love triangle between a successful middle-aged TV talk show host, his wife (later divorced) , his girlfriend and his lover.

It starts with a scenario in which the host Yan Shouyi accidentally leaves his cell phone behind at home. Unfortunately, his lover Wu Yue calls. His wife picks up the phone and a family crisis follows.

Later throughout the movie, Yan's mobile sings frequently with a gentle voice of "You have an incoming call" from his lover. Facing his girlfriend's questioning eyes, Yan, though little uneasy, pretends to answer in a low and calm voice, "I'm at a meeting."

Unfortunately, the common reply "I'm at a meeting" had been transformed into a family taboo for Yan's bold lie, as it smells suspicious before women's sensitive noses.

"It's a habitual excuse used by man to evade his girlfriend or wife's 'oral examination'," said He Fang, a 27-year-old female accountant, "I'll check whether it is true if my boy says so to me. "

Short messages on the mobile are also subject to inspection after ladies who have watched the show suspect their men might get addicted to any sweet talks with seductresses like Yan and his lover projected on the screen.

According to Tuesday's Beijing Daily, a young couple in Beijing 's neighboring city Tianjin jumped into a fight after watching the movie. The wife, pressing her husband to check the short messages on his cell phone, was hospitalized after the annoyed man hit her on the head with the phone.

Middle-aged couples are among those who are most deeply affected by the social implications brought about by the movie as middle-aged men with sound financial basis are believed to be most likely to get astray in extramarital affairs.

"It's all the movie's fault," complained 39-year-old Zhang Jian. After watching the movie, his wife always asked him what he had been doing during daytime and constantly checked his short messages.

"I'm getting nervous once I receive a short message," said Zhang, adding that he regretted having brought his wife to the theater.

"How could it be a cell phone? It's a hand grenade!" Yan's friend Fei Mo's cry in the movie represents many people's feeling after seeing the movie.

Fei, a one-woman university professor, nearly falls into a love affair with a young student. But even the aborted scheme has been spotted by his wife via cell phone.

"We are often asked to speak the plain truth, to be frank or honest. But sometimes we just don't obey the rule," said scriptwriter Liu Zhenyun.

"It's an interesting question that how many of the words we utter each day are true." the novelist said.

Despite a lot of press about wives' quarrels with husbands after seeing the show, experts say people should not be troubled by it.

"I don't think a movie will affect a marriage unless there are some problems between the couple," said Professor Li Mingshun, a marriage law expert with the China Law Society, "the movie is only a cause. A stable marriage depends on the two's accommodation to each other. They should treat each other with sincerity."

Perhaps the humorous new year movie master Feng's remark is the best way to let go people's anger. "Don't be too serious about the movie. It's better to watch your own behavior afterwards.

"If the movie could dispel the "toxic factors" without igniting an explosion. That's the best," he smiled.

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