Temptress Moon begins on the eve of the fall of the Qing Dynasty, and features the wealthy yet troubled rural Pang family on the verge of decay. The Pang estate is a site of debauchery and rampant opium addiction. Leslie Cheung plays Zhongliang, a former servant for the Pangs who, after a formatively harrowing experience, flees to Shanghai, where he becomes a professional gigolo for a triad gang. Zhongliang is sent back to the labyrinthine estate years later on a task to seduce Pang Ruyi, played by Gong Li, the newly designated head of the Pang family who, in accordance with the family legacy, has grown into an undesirable opium addict; a doomed love affair nevertheless develops between the two. With haunting cinematography by Christopher Doyle, Temptress Moon explores, in an addled state of its own, the gradual ruination of traditional institutions, the confrontation between rural and urban vices, and the continuous return to the site of childhood trauma.
Ruination noun | an event that results in destruction; destruction achieved by wrecking something; an irrecoverable state of devastation and destruction; failure that results in a loss of position or reputation
Nervous exhaustion, a void in my brain. Dead on my feet, like a fucking machine. I can’t wind down, I can’t shut it out, I can’t think straight, born to burn out. Day in. Day out. Day in. Day out. For what?