Zhang Sanjian is back 2023-11-07 07:00 
       Can people change their own destiny?
       Please pause and think about it, then bring your answer to the following paragraph ?
       Actually, this topic is something I’ve always been thinking about and often discuss with friends. The answers vary from person to person, and the stories I hear are full of twists and turns. Everyone bases their opinions on their own experiences and references classics, enough to hold a debate in my presence. I’m sure everyone is eager to hear my thoughts, but I’ll keep them to myself for now. Let’s enter the movie viewing time and slowly savor it.       ‘Mad Fate’ tells the story of a Feng Shui master and an anti-social personality teenager, who, like trapped beasts, confirm, break, obsess over, and recklessly challenge their fates until the very end. In the film, the Feng Shui master predicts others’ destinies through fortune-telling. He walks the path of changing others’ fates but always ends in failure. This anti-social personality teenager, Shaodong, has suffered from severe mental illness since childhood. His extreme behavior led to imprisonment and being pursued by the police due to his parents’ reports. The master, through analyzing his fate, predicts that Shaodong will soon face a major disaster and will be imprisoned for twenty years due to a knife-related incident.”
       The old policeman, who is diligent and competent in his work, pays extra attention to Shaodong’s actions. Over the years, he has constantly been on Shaodong’s heels, asserting, ‘He is born a murderer and cannot be changed.’ Reflecting on our own lives, we may also encounter people like the old policeman who try to inversely manipulate our lives. They burn you with what they claim is passionate love, or they oppress you with their so-called strongest armor, leaving you breathless. Although the old policeman’s actions towards Shaodong are out of justice and maintaining social order, every time he appears, he seems to define and judge Shaodong’s life with a sort of ominous ‘warning.’ Psychological defects and vulnerability are innate factors, while repeated negations and judgments are external conditions. Maybe after the verdict has been read a hundred, a thousand times, you yourself don’t even know whether you are guilty or innocent.”
     And the master posed a question to the old policeman, ‘If it’s innate, then is it his fault, or the fault of fate?’ Consequently, he decided to help Shaodong change his destiny.
     The master tried his best, surveying the Feng Shui in the young man’s home and meticulously rearranging the layout according to the theory of the Five Elements to modify his appearance for auspiciousness, but it was all in vain.He still didn’t believe it. This time, he encouraged the young man to ‘actively confront his fate’ by ‘changing his heart.’ He took the young man to release animals to accumulate virtue and to distribute porridge to nearby residents as an act of kindness, but ultimately it was fruitless.In the end, the master still refused to believe that knowing the outcome meant the fate couldn’t be changed. On the third attempt, despite pouring all his effort into it, he still couldn’t change the outcome of Shaodong being unable to resist his dark thoughts.
     Perhaps it’s really ‘fate that cannot be defied,’ just as the female police officer in the film said, ‘Everything is destined, not at all up to us.’
A heavy rain began to fall from the sky, shrouding day and night, extinguishing all rationality in the dimly lit city. The rain poured down, blood surged upward. In a puddle, an ant was trapped, struggling to escape. With each gust of wind, droplets of water from the eaves precisely hit the ant, just as it was about to climb out of the puddle. It climbed up, only to be knocked back into the hollow by the rain, then climbed again, and was struck again. Drop by drop, it seemed like it would never be able to escape this small depression.
    At the end of the film, all the chasing takes place on the rooftop—the place closest to the sky. The master and the young man’s voices clash fiercely, intertwining with hallucinations, ‘Psychopathic, conscienceless, it’s what fate gave you,’ ‘Defying fate is humanity’s greatest tragedy,’ ‘We are just ants,’ ‘I don’t want to be trapped by fate’… In near madness, the young man cuts his own forehead to calm himself down. In the end, he does not kill the old policeman who had been constantly negating and declaring him a murderer from the start. Instead, with his last bit of strength, he shouts, ‘I am a very kind person.’ The flower blooms with kindness as its fruit, ‘He won.’ In the afternoon sun, he whistles as he walks the path he chose for himself.
     The ant that was trapped in the puddle finally climbed out. In the end, the master says, ‘Everything is a matter of the heart, every bit is up to the person.’ Reflecting on his three previous failed attempts to change fate, he might understand that it was his own unwillingness to believe. And the last time, it was the young man who made his own decision.
     The ant is like Sisyphus, endlessly pushing a giant stone to the top of the mountain. In the night where space and time lose their meaning, Sisyphus only has to push the stone to the summit. As it rolls down, he repeatedly returns to the base to continue pushing. He knows the future is an endless cycle of repetition, but in the face of unstoppable fate, he still does not cease to struggle and ponder, just as the ant never stops climbing out of the abyss. At this moment, he and the ant have taken control of their own destinies. When human nature begins to reverse, it is the moment of willingly forgetting oneself; what is experienced then is not a costless sacrifice or worthless suffering.
      ‘Mad Fate’ is wild in its portrayal. It employs direct sensory stimulation and bizarre music to fully explore an apocalyptic visual style. For a while, in many Western films, I felt that the protagonist’s emotional point suddenly reached a hysterical madness, or covered the content through raw, senseless violent eroticism. It seemed the crazier, the more unpredictable, but this point, like an untimely cry or laughter, felt bizarre, stiff, and disconnected. Firstly, this is a manifestation of universal anxiety with no outlet, a product of escaping reality; the crazier, the more it reflects the emptiness inside. Secondly, the reason why the audience feels disconnected is that the sudden ‘madness’ without a core support is like a rootless duckweed, leaving the audience unsure of where the film’s core is drifting.
      But what makes this movie atypical and interesting is that its ‘madness’ comes from within. With Chinese metaphysics and fate as its background, supported by traditional Chinese folk culture, it can be crazy with reason and thoroughly. The contradictions and contrasts in each protagonist unintentionally clash and collide. The seemingly anti-social teenager eventually blooms with kindness. The old policeman, who appears to be maintaining public order, has always been ‘psychologically taming’ people with his words. The therapist, who looks neat and proper by day, harbors a collection of sharp knives and becomes a brutal serial killer in the city by night. The master, who at the start of the film is helping others overcome their fates, reveals a murderous desire when his amulet is destroyed, his eyes filled with blood-red rage.
      The character of the master is initially portrayed to the audience as a wise man, knowledgeable about the ways of the world and solving human puzzles. However, the madness of the enlightened is more painful. They can understand the past, see through the future, but their intentions are not their own. It’s like watching oneself gradually lose control, yet being powerless to stop it.
     From the start, when his home on the rooftop was smashed, looking at the ruins before him, only one flower survived in the desolation. The master silently vowed, ‘I will definitely save you.’ But despite his careful attention, this last flower also withered petal by petal. Just when all hope seemed lost, a fruit grew on the small branches. It was then that the master understood, ‘I am the flower… only when the flower withers can fruit grow… I have to save him…’
     In the final rooftop confrontation among the three, he kept muttering to himself, ‘I am the flower,’ ‘I haven’t lost,’ ‘It’s my own choice,’ almost to the point of madness. I can’t help but admire Mr. Lam Ka Tung’s performance as the master. The most difficult part of the performance isn’t playing a madman, but oscillating between sanity and insanity. I imagine if it were me in this role, I would probably go mad for real.The world itself is a black-and-white fantasy composed of extreme romance and cruel imagery. Everyone has their own night and day. White is not necessarily pure and unblemished, and black is not always gloomy and dim. Only by facing every shade of black and white within oneself can one truly look into their heart and confront themselves honestly.
     Finally, returning to the beginning, can people change their own destiny?
     In the end, when your heart has undergone a transformation, does whether or not your fate changes still matter that much?
(Image source: Internet)”

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