‘Everything Goes Wrong for the Poor Couple’: An Artistic Partnership
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The work is inspired by old-style Cantonese melodramas and movies from the 1950s and 1960s, particularly the 1952 film Everything Goes Wrong for the Poor Couple, directed by Ng Wui. The title of the film was extracted from a classic Chinese poem An Elegy II, written by prominent Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Yuan Zhen. In this mournful verse, the poet expressed deep sorrow and yearning after the death of his beloved wife, who previously shared a hard life with him. The last line of the poem reads: ‘This is a sorrow that all mankind must know / But not as those know it who have been poor together.’ After thousands of years, the last line of this poem has become a proverb with a widely accepted interpretation: couples in poverty are doomed to live a miserable life—‘everything goes wrong for the poor couple’.