Caroline Young, artwork and text
From Chen Kaige’s movie “Temptress Moon”
Ruyi, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy landowner in the provinces, was named head of the family upon the death of her father.
Zhongliang was the debonair brother of Ruyi’s sister-in-law, who made a career of seducing and blackmailing wealthy married women in hedonistic Shanghai.
Upon learning of her good fortune, Zhongliang returned to Ruyi’s province to romance the naive heirhess out of her family fortune, however, they ended up falling in love instead.
Feeling unworthy of her love, he returned to Shanghai to resume his ignoble ways, with Ruyi in pursuit. There, the awful truth about her beloved was revealed.
Heartbroken, she returned to the countryside and accepted the marriage proposal of another man. Realizing his mistake, Zhongliang renounced his past, and hastened to win back her heart. But alas, he was too late.
Angered by Ruyi’s rejection, he poisoned her and, in turn, was killed by her relatives.