“Lift not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread,—behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o’er the chasm, sightless and drear.” — P B Shelley
W. Somerset Maugham used ‘Lift not the painted veil which those who live Call Life’ as inspiration for his novel ‘The Painted Veil’ which was set in China.
I saw the film adaptation a couple of years ago.
It was a film which I liked even though it was just a love story. One trailer says: “The greatest journey is the distance between two people.” I wonder who thinks up these catchy phrases.
The Painted Veil starred the Australian actor, Naomi Watts, who was so good in the strange and quirky thiller, Mulholland Drive.
Here is a synopsis which I found on the web:
The Painted Veil is a love story set in the 1920s that tells the story of a young English couple, Walter, a middle class doctor and Kitty, an upper-class woman, who get married for the wrong reasons and relocate to Shanghai, where she falls in love with someone else.
When he uncovers her infidelity, in an act of vengeance, he accepts a job in a remote village in China ravaged by a deadly epidemic, and takes her along.
Their journey brings meaning to their relationship and gives them purpose in one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth.
The film trailer says “Sometimes the greatest journey is the distance between two people”
Now there’s a job for the alienated worker — writing pithy captions for film trailers in Hollywood (sic).