Why I Feel Last Night of Madame Chin Was Like A Qiong Yao Drama
Last Night of Madame Chin was a challenge to watch with all the issues I had with it. You have a rich guy who falls for a bar hostess, he is single-minded about love. You have social issues like women's lack of rights and a chauvinistic society. You have the setting in 1930s China. You have the leading lady suffering for years for the sake of love. All that really sounds like a novel written by Qiong Yao in spite of the novel not being written by Qiong Yao but Pai Hsien Yung, another noted novelist.
My first Qiong Yao drama was the 2001 version of Romance in the Rain. Later I watched the 1986 version which was downright sadder so I didn't really enjoy it that much. Qiong Yao dramas are full of melodramatic plotlines like in Romance in the Rain, you have Shuhuan and Yiping. In Madame Chin's story, you have the story of Zhaoli and Yueru. I would like to drag down some similarities with Qiong Yao novels one way or another.
Zhaoli is like a Qiong Yao heroine. Comparing her to Yiping, both are bar hostesses. In a way, now bar hostesses do not necessarily get paid for sex like a common whore. They are entertainers. Like Yiping, she is single-minded about love. She gets focused on Yueru. The forbidden love leads to Zhaoli's years of psychological suffering for the sake of love. She is also a victim of the chauvinistic standards of society, to which 1930s China hardly had women's rights known and all girls are now accepted. Yueru like the Qiong Yao leading guy is presented to be single tracked and obsessed with love. He, like Shuhuan gets fascinated with a bar hostess of all girls. Most Qiong Yao leading males tend to become passionately loyal to girls.
Some of Qiong Yao's earlier works were really tragic. If you know the original story of Romance in the Rain, it was a tragedy. Romance in the Rain in the novels had one tragedy after the other happening - Ruping kills herself after her family becomes poor because their wealth was stolen by her mother's boyfriend, Mengping was disowned after the back alley abortion gone wrong, Shuhuan broke up with Yiping as a result of the suicide, later Mengping finds out after she's gone from recovery that her father is dead and her half-brother Erjie is in an orphanage. In the 1986 version, you have Ruping still killing herself and while the ending is not tragic, it's still bittersweet nonetheless.
For Madame Chin, it's still a tragedy and one bad event after the other happens. It gets too weepy really when you think what happens. Yueru's father gives a cup of poison to Zhaoli by a third party causing the baby to be miscarried... not wanting a grandchild born from what he calls a "whore". Yueru's mother dies from sorrow. You can think of one tragedy after the other. Even after the tribulations and sorrows, Yueru does get together with Zhaoli but he dies six months later. I don't think Zhaoli ever got pregnant again after that severe miscarriage leaving nothing more than a tragedy for the leading lady. She is later found an old woman who still cherishes her one true love even in death.