Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Wo Ju (Woju) – Snail Space 蜗居, Episode 17

In the longtang, Grandma Li's electricity has gone out. They plan ways to eat and wash without water, electricity, or gas -- "no matter what, this is better when we were at war with the Japanese," comments Grandma Li.

The demolition team is hammering away at the walls. Boss Chen says he can't believe that the family (Grandma Li's) is still there. The dust will cause them to be kill: "is money more important than life" Chen asks rhetorically.

Haiping and Su Chun are happily preparing for the arrival of Ran Ran, with new clothes and a performance for her. Haiping gets up early to runs out excitedly to meet her parents and Ran Ran at the train station. She calls, and wakes up, Haizao and tells her to hurry.

Su Chun and Young Bei are at home awaiting the arrival of Haiping, Haizao, their parents and Ran Ran. They are in aprons and cooking food: "How the world has changed," says Young Bei.

Haiping wants Ran Ran to sleep with her but she refuses, and wants to sleep with her Grandma.

Grandma Li and her son are lighting candles in their house. Grandma Li says she will bring her grandson home the next day, since she is doing all this for the good of his "marriage apartment" (婚房). Later, they are looking for a bed sheet on which to write characters in order to protest the demolition. They can't find an old bed sheet in the dark so they will wait. Grandma Li remembers that there is one on top of a cabinet. She stands on a stool to reach it but falls.

Grandma Li has broken her hip and is lying in bed while outside demolition continues. Her daughter in law complains about having to bathe her with water that has to be carried in. "I wish I was dead and it was over," moans Grandma Li. No, says he son, because then they would be one less hukou so compensation for relocation would be even less. "Once we get a new apartment, then you can die".

Boss Chen asks how many families have not moved, and the answer is three. After hearing that one of the old ladies (Grandma Li) had broken her hip, and since it was near New Year, Boss Chen says they can put in a water sprout. Then Chen sees a man putting up a banner of protest and regrets feeling sorry for them.

Secretary Song walks into his office and tosses a newspaper on his desk. The title of the article reads "The Most Stubborn Nail Household" (最牛钉子户). He calls Boss Chen and tells him to come to his office immediately. Song tells Chen to arrange for the households for the new year, and that after the new year they will discuss the matter.

A new character appears (it could be the investigator). He passes out documents to a table of people and apologizes for making them work so close to the new year. He announces the official start of the special investigation team's work on a case. He unveils a white paper with photos and lines -- at the center is a picture of Secretary Song. "He is our target, Song Siming", says the lead investigator.

Next scene is of Secretary Song and his family at the airport.

Boss Chen comes to plead with Grandma Li. He says he will return home, and will lend his apartment to Grandma Li. After the new year, they can continue negotiations.

Grandma Li: "Neither gold nest nor silver nest are as nice as one's own dog nest (金窝、银窝,不如自己的狗窝, the "nest" or wo character is same as that in the title "Woju"). Chinese people don’t go to other people's home for the new year. I will stay here. Don't worry about me. Instead, think about how you can relocate us. Wouldn’t giving up one more apartment solve everything? The earlier you give it, the earlier we move." She groans.

Boss Chen leaves. Grandma Li says they can't accept his offer because it will be hard to negotiate with him in they are friends. Her grandson complains that he doesn’t want to stay in the house, and Grandma Li is angry, saying that she and her son and daughter have fought for this to help the grandson out in later life.

Secretary Song is in a massive mansion with his family, including his father. They sit down to eat.

Haizao is going to spend time with Secretary Song so Haiping insists on meeting Song. Haizao gets into the car with Song and they leave.

At the 20th reunion, one of Song's classmates says Haizao looks like someone. Later, he remembers that she looks exactly like an old college classmate “little white bunny”.