Long Live the Wife, a lively and well-acted comedy, is celebrated fiction writer Eileen Chang's second script. Following immediately from Love without End (1947), it proved to be another financially successful collaboration with director Sang Hu for Wenhua Film Studio. The film is centred on the figure of Chen Sizhen (Jiang Tianliu) whose marriage to Tang Zhiyuan (Zhang Fa), an ambitious bank clerk and a typical Shanghai xiao shi min (petty urbanite), is dull. Their relationship is unromantic and she fails to bear him a son. Nonetheless she tries to be a good housewife. Their universe spins into turmoil when Tang starts an affair with a glamorous woman, Zhu Mimi (Shangguan Yunzhu), who cares for nothing but his money. A crisis ensues. Long Live the Wife reveals the impending collapse of patriarchal authority and women's attempts at extricating themselves from this social predicament. Chang's screenplay also radically underlines the ambiguity of moral choices.
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