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The film was still playing.
After walking around for three hours outside, Lu Zhiyao returned to his own capsule and continued living his dry life.
A lot of time had been spent at the beginning, introducing the details of life in the future such as relief meals, expensive snacks, quizzes in variety shows, and the like.
Lu Zhiyao could act exceptionally well in those scenes. A poor person at the bottom tier of society… his entire life and all his emotions would revolve around those simple things.
He would rejoice after winning a sum of money from a television program. He would fly into a rage after losing all his money in a
Sometimes, he would feel empty and disappointed. Then, he would lie down in his capsule and keep absolutely still.
Other times, he would look at the tempting advertisements and the way that the upper-class members of society lived in the skyscrapers… and feel incomparable envy.
The commercials on the television screen were obviously meant to act as the background to the story. Nevertheless, a lot of effort had obviously gone into producing them.
Lin Ruyi finally made an appearance. She and Lu Zhiyao slowly developed a romantic relationship. Then, she suggested participating in a talent show…
Pei Qian was very familiar with everything that happened after that; he had written the framework of the script. What’s more, he had watched the rough cut of the film before.
Still, he could not help but be immersed in the film as he watched it. His emotions rose and fell with the main characters.
Thanks to the flawless editing, the timing of every scene in the movie was just right. It was just enough to leave an aftertaste in the audience’s mouths, and yet help their transition into the next scene.
The actors’ exquisite skills brought every refreshing character to life on the big screen, portraying them perfectly and helping the audience to deeply resonate with them.
The outstanding background music contributed to the audience’s emotions as well, causing them to feel everything consistently with the story’s progression.
The well-made props and expensive, otherworldly special effects gave the entire a film a unique sci-fi vibe. While bringing the audience out of the current world, it gave them a mysterious sense of reality. It was almost as if the movie was depicting a real, future world…
That was the power of film.
At the end of the day, a simple story’s framework would be pale and weak. However, when turned into a film, it would include a huge amount of detail and engage the audience’s other senses to provide a whole new experience.
All of those details were perfect. Even the commercials in the film didn’t look out of place. In fact, it was almost like there was some meaning in the seemingly irrelevant commercials!
As Pei Qian subconsciously stuffed his mouth with popcorn, only one thought filled his mind.
Was this the f*cking script I wrote?
The framework was not much different from his, but the final product looked very different from what he had imagined!
He couldn’t tell much from the first half of the film, but by the second half, the entire story seemed to deteriorate steadily, revealing the film’s malicious fangs!
During the showdown between Lu Zhiyao and Lin Ruyi, the entire theater sucked in a cold breath together.
Obviously, the audience had been shocked by that scene. They had found it hard to accept at that moment.
However, nobody cursed at the screen like Pei Qian had imagined.
Instead, everyone watched on intently!
Even Pei Qian did not feel angry or poisoned by Lu Zhiyao’s toxicity. Instead, he felt slightly shocked as he expectantly waited for the plot to develop.
Soon, he realized that there was a big problem here.
This shouldn’t be happening. Why aren’t I feeling angry at this point? Isn’t this supposed to be a very toxic scene?
He ate another handful of popcorn and tried to rationalize his emotions.
Perhaps it was because the film had created a unique sense of alienation.
In the beginning, a lot of time had been spent showing the audience the details of the protagonist’s daily life. They had learned that the protagonist ate instant food, watched television programs, and went out to wander around at midnight.
However, that did not make the audience one with the protagonist. In fact, it turned them into outsider observers, completely separated from and unaffected by what was happening.
The camera angle made the audience feel like they were looking through a surveillance camera-cold and impersonal. They were observing the male protagonist’s life in this world, without becoming emotionally involved.
That lessened the sweetness of watching the male and female protagonists date, but it also lessened the pain they felt when their relationship ended. Not only could the audience feel what the main actors were feeling, but they could also feel those emotions through something like a layer of glass. They would not experience intense fluctuations in their emotions.
All of a sudden, Pei Qian realized that he had made a mistake.
A film was a form of art, but the same script could produce very different films in the hands of different directors!
That was because the director would inject his personal ideas during the filming process. The camera angle, various other details in the background, and the pace of story-telling… All of those could affect the audience’s perception of a story.
That was the exact reason why scripts that looked extremely boring could turn into historical classics in the hands of directors with strong styles!
Obviously, Zhu Xiaoce had understood this story very differently from Pei Qian… Of course, the director would shoot the movie based on his own understanding. Thus, after the editor tied up the loose ends, the movie became very different from what Pei Qian had intended to express initially.
Most ‘toxicity’ had been gotten rid of. What replaced it was a deep sense of pity.
What the female protagonist did was hateful, but the audience could not hate her.
The male protagonist was miserable and foolish, but the audience could only feel a bit of sympathy for him. They felt sorry for his situation but angry that he did not stand up for himself.
In the end, when the male protagonist finally struck it rich and became a member of the upper society, the audience did not feel happy for him. Instead, they could clearly see that he had lost himself.
The audience suddenly perceived the male protagonist as a stranger. They could sense that he had lost his true self in the whirlpool of materialism and wealth.
Wealth had not made him better. Instead, it took control of his life and turned him into an even sorrier worm.
In the end, the male protagonist, played by Lu Zhiyao, was schemed against by the judge, played by Zhang Zuting. He ended up in huge debt and lay down on his bed, like a living corpse.
From the screen, the audience watched as the woman-whom the judge had replaced the male protagonist with—did the exact same thing as Lu Zhiyao had done before. The story had obviously descended into a vicious cycle, making the audience feel helpless…
The screen went black.
The movie had ended.
The ending song played, the singing sounding exceptionally sad and desolate.
This had been the song that the female protagonist, played by Lin Ruyi, had performed when she took part in the talent show. The judges had made fun of her, saying that she had been out of tune. At the time, the audience had not thought much of the song.
However, when played at the end, the song seemed slightly different. Between the two versions, the one at the end had an inexplicable meaning attached to it.
Pei Qian looked around at the other people in the theater.
What’s going on? Wasn’t the ending toxic enough? Shouldn’t you be standing up and asking for a refund by now?
Shouldn’t you at least be scoffing or asking ‘what the hell is this?!
The entire cinema was silent. Nobody stood up, and nobody made a sound.
The credits rolled.
Pei Qian realized that his name was listed first under the team of scriptwriters. There was even an additional line that said ‘special thanks’.
That did not comfort the shocked Boss Pei.
The first post-credits scene was of the judge, played by Zhang Zuting, sitting in his villa and nonchalantly enjoying his holiday. He gently swirled his red wine as the dark red glow bounced off the judge’s face.
The woman seated across from him had heavy makeup on. It was the lady host that the judge had pushed to replace Lu Zhiyao after the latter’s reputation crumbled.
All of a sudden, a police siren sounded outside. There was chaos. The woman panicked, stood up, and left. The judge panicked as well. He stood up, dropping the glass of red wine on the floor and sending glass pieces across the room.
Some time passed. The judge did not come back.
Yet, the previously-flustered female host walked back in, sat down, and poured herself some red wine in another intact glass. Then, she downed it in one go.
The camera remained on her delicate red lips. The corners of her lips curled up slightly into an inexplicable smile.
The credits rolled again.
The second post-credits scene was set in the male protagonist’s capsule.
The male protagonist was still lying down on the bed, looking paralyzed. However, he had already grown long hair and a bear. There were wrinkles and age spots on his face, hinting that a lot of time had already gone by.
All of a sudden, there was a lot of noise outside, and a police siren sounded.
With a ‘bang’, the capsule’s door flew open. Someone threw something inside and then turned to leave.
A faint, angry roar could be heard. It seemed like a poor person was in a violent and intense fight with an official who had been sent to maintain order.
The male protagonist walked towards the door, confused. What lied on the ground was a pistol, covered in blood.
Bam! The lights in the theater came on.
Everyone in the theater looked like they had just woken up from a dream. One by one, they stood up.
Nobody complained about or dissed the movie. Instead, everyone remained silent. It was almost as if they hadn’t recovered from the emotions invoked by the movie.
Some people began discussing the movie in whispered tones.
“The film was amazing. Was it really shot by a local director?”
“That’s right. The creativity… the amazing plot twists… I’m dumbfounded!”
“My heart feels a bit loaded after the movie…”
“I think it’ll make a good drama.”
“I feel like it was quite deep. There were many parts I didn’t understand. Let’s wait for a review.” “All things aside, Lu Zhiyao acted quite well in this movie. He didn’t make me feel uncomfortable at all!”
The couple beside Pei Qian stood up and followed the crowd out of the cinema.
“It was not the romance film I expected, but it was surprisingly nice.” “That’s right. I think the film was hinting at us to cherish our loved ones. Sweetie, we have to treat each other well.”
“The movie was very moving. I can’t stop crying,” said the girl as she wiped her tears with a tissue. She turned her head slightly to glance at the seat beside her. Then, she whispered, “Look, even that young man is moved to tears.”
At that seat, Pei Qian kept stuffing his mouth with popcorn as tears flowed down his cheeks.
Finished! This film is finished!
Why the h*ll would the audience’s comments be like?
‘It’s worth watching again’? ‘It’s pretty good”? The plot was deep’? ‘I can’t wait for the official review’?
What the h*ll is happening?!
The audience has gotten the movie completely wrong! I only wanted to make it as toxic as possible for all of you!
Burp! Pei Qian burped as he cried. He seemed to have eaten too much popcorn…
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