While on my trip to the USA I got to watch a Chinese movie in the airplane and I absolutely loved it. It’s not a regular thing that we come across mainland Chinese movies because they’re usually from Hong Kong or Taiwan.
Let me tell you about 三生三世十里桃花. It is based on the fantasy novel Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles Peach Blossoms, also known as To the Sky Kingdom, by TangQi Gongzi.
Name: Once Upon a Time 三生三世十里桃花
Other name(s): 三生三世十里桃花 / (from the novel) Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles Peach Blossoms/ To the Sky Kingdom
Director: Zhao Xiaoding and Anthony LaMolinara
Writer: TangQi Gongzi
Release date: August 3, 207
Runtime: 109 min
Spoilers! Do not read if you want to see the movie without any major spoilers.
Bai Qian is the youngest of five in the Bai family, a family of fox deities and the rulers of the mystical land, Qing Qiu. One day, Bai Qian is invited to the East Sea to attend a party. There, she runs into a little boy who steals her fan. When she notices the boy missing, she spots a lady dropping the fan. The lady is recognized by Bai Qian to be Xuan Nu, the Demon Clan’s Queen and a shapeshifter. Xuan Nu runs away, only for a man to come running to the boy. Bai Qian, thinking that he is Xuan Nu, tries to stop him from approaching the boy, named Ah Li. While fighting, the man stops and calls her Su Su, suddenly recognizing her as her mask comes off. The man is revealed to be Ye Hua, her betrothed, Ah Li’s father, and the Heaven Tribe’s Crown Prince. After Ye Hua apologizes, she leaves.
Back in Qing Qiu, Ye Hua and Ah Li has decided to stay with Bai Qian. Ye Hua is determined to make her fall in love with him while Ah Li believes that she’s his mother. While Bai Qian is with Zhe Yan, a family friend, Mi Gu, a tree spirit, informs her that someone has come to Qing Qiu to take Ah Li away. While Ah Li is running away from a lady, they both happen to stumble into a cave. The lady sees a man in an ice block and recognizes the man as Mo Yuan. When Bai Qian arrives, the lady introduces herself to be Su Jin, a princess consort of the Heaven Tribe, who happens to be in love with Ye Hua. Ye Hua walks in and tells both of them that Ah Li will be returning to the Heaven Tribe after celebrating his birthday in the mortal realm with his mom and dad.
In the mortal realm, Ye Hua explains that three hundred years ago, he was mortally wounded in a battle and was too exhausted to use his powers. Su Su, a human girl, ended up taking care of him, and as a repayment for her kindness, Ye Hua agreed to marry her. Ye Hua realizes that Su Su and Bai Qian are the same person and wishes that Bai Qian could remember and forget all that happened in the past.
Back in Qing Qiu, Bai Qian visits Mo Yuan, the god of war and a highly respected person in the Heaven Tribe. She preserves him with her blood and talks to him, calling him her master. It is revealed that she has been waiting for him to awaken for seventy thousand years after he had trapped the Demon King, Qing Cang, in a bell. She tells him that she met someone recently who reminded her of Mo Yuan.
After an incident involving Ah Li drinking too much alcohol, Bai Qian and Ye Hua argue. Bai Qian, having developed a close bond with Ah Li, wants them to stay a while longer and doesn’t find fault in her actions. Ye Hua, an overprotective dad, dismisses Bai Qian’s excuses and leaves for the Heaven Tribe.
While Bai Qian is gone, Xuan Nu comes and steals Mo Yuan’s body. Bai Qian and Zhe Yan then rush to the Demon Clan, planning to rescue Mo Yuan. During the fight, Ye Hua shows up and helps Bai Qian, only for the sake of taking Mo Yuan’s body back to the Heaven Tribe. After rescuing him, Ye Hua recalls that in the books he studied, it was told that after locking up Qing Cang, Mo Yuan went to live in seclusion with his favorite disciple, Si Yin, who was Bai Qian. She tells him that after Mo Yuan died, she brought him here and waited for him to come back.
The two develop a mutual liking for each other and Ye Hua decides to bring Bai Qian to the Heaven Tribe, hoping to get married. During Bai Qian and Ye Hua’s wedding, Su Jin tells Bai Qian more of the story between Su Su and Ye Hua. Ye Hua took Su Su to the Heaven Palace and abandoned her there, driving Su Su to commit suicide. Su Jin warns her and says that Ye Hua is only with her because of the guilt he feels for Su Su. Bai Qian, filled with doubt, leaves him at the altar.
Later on, Bai Qian comes back planning to receive the soul-binding lamp from Ye Hua, so it could speed up the process of her master waking up. They both argue with Bai Qian saying that his heart still belongs to Su Su while Ye Hua claims that there has only been a place in her heart for Mo Yuan. He finally confesses that Su Su and Bai Qian are actually the same person. Finally, Ye Hua lends her the lamp and tells her that he hopes she can forgive him. Her memories are released and it is revealed that Su Jin, who was jealous, had Su Su’s eyes removed to replace her own after Su Jin jumped into the execution platform, claiming that Su Su pushed her. When Su Su tried to beg Ye Hua to believe her, but he didnt. Su Su asked Ye Hua to name their baby after the word ‘parting’ and jumped off of the Execution Platform. When Su Su landed in Qing Qiu, her powers returned and she drank an amnesia potion to forget all the pain that happened to her while she was Su Su. After snapping back to reality, Su Jin approaches her and pushes her off the Execution Platform, but Ye Hua catches her. Ye Hua tries to console Bai Qian, but she leaves him and returns to Qing Qiu.
Nai Nai, Bai Qian/Su Su’s maid in the Heaven Palace, pleads Bai Qian to forgive Ye Hua. Nai Nai tells Bai Qian the true story of what actually happened. All the time that Ye Hua abandoned her, he was trying to get permission from the heavenly lord to marry her. And when she jumped off the Execution Platform, Ye Hua jumped after her, harming himself. He even took the lightning punishment that was meant for her for ‘pushing’ Su Jin.
Ye Hua stays in Qing Qiu, refusing to leave until Bai Qian forgives him. For seven days and nights, Bai Qian refuses to see him or welcome him into Qing Qiu.
At the Bell, Su Jin awakens Qing Cang, hoping that he will kill Ye Hua and Bai Qian for mistreating her. Ye Hua decides to go fight Qing Cang. Bai Qian learns of the news and rushes to go help him, but she is too late. Ye Hua sacrifices himself, just like how Mo Yuan did, to lock up Qing Cang. The river, that the bell is on, freezes and Ye Hua floats away under the ice. Bai Qian follows him and screams, saying that she’ll drink the potion again if he dares to die. Ye Hua watches her and sinks to the bottom, his last wish being that she could forget him for all the pain that he has cause her.
Later on, Mo Yuan’s ice block cracks and he awakens. As Bai Qian runs to finally see her master, she is stopped by Mo Yuan/Ye Hua standing there and asking her (Qian Qian, a nickname that only Ye Hua called her) to come closer.
At first I wasn’t sure what to expect, I wasn’t even sure if it was Mandarin or Cantonese at first but as soon as it started and the plot made sense to me I was completely sucked into it. I cried and smiled whenever something happened and in the end I really was glad I watched it. It’s over the top in some of the acting, the wigs and the outfits but it fits; we’re watching deities. how can they not be the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen.
The acting was a little over done at times but nothing that annoyed me too much, I’m really recommending this movie to anyone who loves dress drama’s like this.