200 Years of Love: The Story
Written by Veronica
I realized after every heart wrenching experience, you grow a little more. Watching this drama and analyzing the relationships in there was very intriguing for me, and let me understand more about myself. Overall, it was a rocky tear jerking ride, but I feel like I have grown from watching it.
It [忘 記時間 “Forgetting Time”] is fit mostly with the relationship between a couple that met 200 years before the story actually takes place. The girl is the descendent of a goddess, and thus cannot die from natural ageing. The guy is training to be a priest, and they meet when the man goes with his religious group into a city as guests.
He meets the girl, and their relationship is innocent and beautiful. At the end of his visit, however, he has to leave. The girl is crushed, but refuses to let the relationship die. The man promises that if after 3 years, she still wants to marry him, then he will stop being a priest and marry her.
He is the most prospective of the group, and his elders hope for him to succeed them as head priest. After three years pass, the man wants to go and keep his promise. His elders lie to him, though, and tell him the girl is dead. He feels disillusioned about the world and accepts his fate. After he attains a higher position in his cultivation, one day sees her again. She has waited for him every day for three years, and touched by her persistence, he runs away with her. Chased by his elders, the two end up before a cliff. There was a legend from before that if two lovers are meant to be together, the clouds would gather. As they knelt there, the clouds dissipated. [Meaning that they shouldn't] Refusing to let their fate be dictated by others, however, the two jump off the cliff. The man dies, but the girl survives because she isn’t human.
100 years later, the man is reincarnated and becomes another priest. The girl retains her beauty and age, but has never forgotten her love for him. Embittered by the pain of waiting one hundred years, she finds him again and goads him. Although he is the head priest and has lost all of his memories of his past life, he still loves her instinctively. To force him and see if he still loves her, the girl flirts with other men, drinking with them. Unable to see her hurt herself, the priest sacrifices his promise not to drink and drinks the liquor for her (taboo back then).
Eventually, he leaves being a priest again and sacrifices his whole career before him to marry her. The village shuns them (because you don’t just quit being a priest), but he ignores them all in the name of love. On their wedding night, however, as she is sleeping, the priest hears her saying the name of another man.
Angry and feeling betrayed, he does not know that the name she is saying is his old name in his past life. In a flurry of misunderstanding, they separate. The girl is hurt after he abandons her, but does not want to explain about their past and so things go on until her old country is attacked and she is about to be executed. She could have easily escaped, but since she feels her life lying in ruins around her, wants to die. That is when the priest jumps out amidst the crowd to save her. She keeps telling him to leave and that death is her choice, but he will not, until he dies protecting her. The words on his lips as he died were: 你心裏面還有誰？Who else do you have in your heart?
He is reincarnated a third time, a priest again. And she has waited for him 200 years. This is now the present. In the beginning, she does not want to interfere with his life, but when she sees in a vision that he is seriously hurt, she jumps out to save him. He does not remember her, but she cannot tear herself away. Their relationship develops, until he finally regains his memories. He is now forced to make a decision. Knowing that he had failed in the past because of love, the decision is put before him again.
He falls in love a third time, and it seemed the cycle of life, love and death would repeat when the girl finally decides to let him go. Even though they love each other, she knows he has his responsibility. He is not quite willing to give up the relationship, but the girl says that: “If you love a person, you would want them to achieve their ideals, and not hold them back because of your selfishness. True love is learning to let go.”
She brings him to the lake where all emotional attachment could be washed away after drinking the water. Not wanting to take away his dreams a third time, she forces them both to drink. In the beginning, he tells her he does not want to let go of his beautiful memories because it would be the same as committing suicide, but when he sees her drink, he does too. As they walk away from each other for the last time, it is revealed that the girl had never touched the water. As the man walks away, he spits out the water as well. [neither knowing about the other]
They both hold on to their memories because no matter how painful it is to remember, nothing is worse than completely forgetting. [Really felt a lot here] What made me like this so much more than other films is that their love is correct in the end. Although I am not one to judge a person’s love, if they had continued their relationship, the priest would have failed again and needed to continue reincarnation. Letting go was necessary for both of them, and even though it was painful, it was necessary.
True love is giving the other freedom to achieve their goals– True love is letting go.