Leslie Cheung in A Chinese Ghost Story

I once heard the poet Trương Trần before reading a poem about Walt Whitman say something like, It’s
one thing to be in love with Walt Whitman; it’s another thing to want to fuck Walt Whitman.
I fall just
short of being in love with Leslie Cheung. Like love love — the way you want someone to love love you
back and you’d be happy together. Like happy happy — the way young-love emotion plus aesthete
equals adventuring. Like in the first phase of A Chinese Ghost Story, when all the zombie things keep just
barely missing out on Leslie Cheung. Like clueless cute-cute Leslie Cheung.

In the opening scene, it’s night time and a lantern falls into a water bath,

then we’re outside, moving along the ground. Leaves blowing.

Up six steps.

Ghosts? Zombies? Monsters?

In the next scene,
it’s day time. Leslie Cheung wiping his brow with his sleeve
is trying to find his way.

He’s eating a chunk of bread. He bites down, and it hurts his teeth.
Slapstick Leslie is adorably hapless Leslie.

He splits a big rock with his bread. He punts the bread,
and it tears a hole in his shoe. We see his big toe.

But which direction is south?

holes in an umbrella. Rain.

At least I haven’t run into thieves.

Heavy rain. Water waterfalls down his knapsack.

The movie is consistent. The order of appearances of the other-worldly beings makes the arc titular:

First the zombies,

then the monster,

then the ghost,
Joey Wong, who plays
the zither.
* * * * *

We’re dry again, in the daylight. There’s music around us, small, thin paper slips blowing around.
A festival? Which one?

The noise of people all around.

It’s hard not to read real life tragedy into this
film and see his death in every scene.

Someone in the dispersing crowd, yells out to him,

You! You’ve money for the dead stuck on you! Trying to take advantage of me?

Sir, you’ve got to be joking! I don’t spend this kind of money.

(You’ll be able to spend it sooner or later.)

He tells the people he has free lodging at the haunted temple, Lan Yeuk.

How brave

He’s going to die

Let him go

We shouldn’t let him go

It’s night again. Three wolves, eyes glowing green.

Leslie Cheung, cutely: Hey don’t eat me! If you eat me, then I’ll be dead.




I think that’s the ratio for this movie

so that she, Joey Wong, the beautiful woman in the painting, his love interest, can be mortal
again. . .

The first time they meet: Ivory White Transparent Curtains No Liner No Grommets Non-Textured Linen
Curtains for Living Room, 2 Panels,

flowing in the night breeze.

While he’s unconscious under her spell, she says to him,
You seem rather kind. It’s a shame you came to the wrong place,
or else you wouldn’t have to die such a wrongful death.

Her burial urn,
black, calabash gourd-shaped,
needs to be reburied somewhere safe.

Or else I won’t make it in time to reincarnate as a mortal.

The scene where we know they know they’re in love,
they’re writing a love poem together on a scroll.
They take turns writing the lines.

“Envious of mandarin ducks eternal love rather than, the immortality of the gods.”

Unruly and Bittersweet, L.A.

I grow crooked /
where sidewalks flay open, creased by earthquake.