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Popularity 1Viewed 4401 times 2017-12-24 09:15 |Personal category:Movie|System category:Life| Youth

I first noticed this movie because of the news that the movie was banned from being shown in movie theaters.


After it was finally released, I was exposed to a few times mentioning in my circle of friends. At the very beginning, I decided to watch it simply because I was attracted by the movie posters and I was enormously interested in the story the movie is trying to tell. What happened during that special period of time was a total blank in my mind, though I had learned some rather sketchy facts in my history class in high school.


Regarding this movie, I have heard quite a few negative comments from friends as well as established online commentators. Some of my peers found that there was nothing for them to relate to this movie. They had no feeling at all after viewing it. A professional commentator claimed that the movie focused too much on the youth and the dramatic changes with the leading characters’ life under the particular circumstances, while the original book has instead concentrated more on the sensitive topic-the suppressed sex at that time and how the impulsive act of the leading male actor-hugging one of the female artists turned his life upside down. One of my students majoring in movie directing liked neither how the director built the characters nor the great amount of music applied to construct the scene while no profound meaning was explored nor the realistic scene from that time was established.


As true as these may be, I personally thoroughly enjoyed the movie while watching it. I remember I was in tears a few times during the whole process of screening. I can't really be 100% sure that whether I was just deeply touched by the nostalgic as well as sentimental music or the heart-stirring political slogan.  I was deep down thinking that youth was rather glamorous no matter what era it was in. As a matter of fact, the youth in the 1970s was in my personal opinion even more absorbing under the veil of nostalgia.


No doubt the leading female actresses are exceptionally attractive in terms of their appearance. I don't know whether it is because I am already mentally not young any more. I almost feel jealous of their youth which constantly exudes from their youthful as well as healthy body.


No matter what, the movie served as a great stimulus to evoke my enormous interest in understanding what my parents had underwent at that time and in how history steered its wheels towards this moment. More importantly, I wonder how the influence of history has been passed to my generation.


What really touched me in this movie was how kind He Xiaoping was. With his father a prisoner and her mother remarried, He had been shown pitifully little love in her life before entering cultural troupe. She confessed that she even had to get seriously ill to attract little attention from her mother. I fully understand how pathetic this can be as I had similar experience in my childhood. After turning 12, my parents were away to do business. When I got sick, I was never afraid and in fact I was secretly happy because that would mean my mom would come back to look after me. This is how awful a left-behind child’s life can be like.


Harboring great expectation for future life, He became a member of the cultural troupe. Contrary to what she had hoped, this is the beginning of another nightmare for her. She tried to blend in and did her utmost to make her father proud. Unfortunately, none of her roommates liked her. Other than that, they gang up on her by mentally and verbally abusing her. The worst was she lost her father when she thought her father would be rehabilitated. The guy-Liu Feng  He had a crush on has set his heart on another girl. And he finally had been punished to work in the remote area for he was accused of committing  sexual harassment towards his beloved one. Even though he didn't do it, nobody stood up for Liu.


Consumed with disappointment on people in the cultural troupe, He became extremely passive aggressive regarding her work, which led her degradation to be a nurse in the war zone. Bombarded with the worst conceivable scene there, He barely survived and was deeply traumatized. After the end of the war, she was made a hero. But soon she was admitted to the hospital for her mental illness.  


She is not alone in this. I believe there are multitudes of people who were traumatized due to historical incidents like war. My grandmother was one of them. What she had experienced during cultural revolution planted the seed of depression in her heart which later sprouted and eventually led to her suicide.

Some people may say Liu was even kinder. Forgive me, I honestly don't appreciate Liu’s kindness. The kindness and good deeds he embodied in my opinion were the result of political brainwash. He almost seemed like a person with no independent thinking. I don't really support this sort of kindness that is appreciated by the receivers. Why bother?


The life that Liu and He led in the end was in stark contrast with other people in the cultural troupe. Nothing could be more ironic than this. Liu and He were so kind and so caring. But they didn’t end up living a successful or glamorous life like many others. You may expect the two of them to live a happy life, if not, at least a life with fewer struggles. You may want to see that their good deeds are paid back in money or in fame.


But, no. Not every efforts you have made are going to yield a good result. I suppose this is life. It is never logic. The essence is always randomness.


In the end, I realize what I love about this movie is not the music, not the plot, not the actors, nor the well-known director. I love it simply because it has afforded me a glimpse of life in that special and memorable time.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (2 comments)

Reply Report Liononthehunt 2017-12-26 18:57
That's set in the transitional period for China's shift from orthodox socialism to a more liberal Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, which may strike a chord only with people in their late fifties or sixties. The millennials in China may find it too far removed from what they have experienced in life, as the country just went through dramatic changes throughout this period in terms of ideology and economic development.
Reply Report Min1989 2017-12-27 13:36
Liononthehunt: That's set in the transitional period for China's shift from orthodox socialism to a more liberal Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, which may st ...
Exactly. Even though I didint experience that period of time and now know very little about what had happened as my parents seldom talked about their youth, I am extraordinarily curious about life was like at that time. Even though what has been depicted in this movie may have failed to represent the realistic youth prople had at that time, I am just glad it to some extent has opened the door for me to get to know life at that time simply by having a conversation with people in my parents' generation.

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  • The Purpose of Reading 2018-4-12 13:45

    we have the same feeling about. reading,reading. really tells us a lot especially when welearn foreign can help us to understand other. country's culture and customs.therefore,when we talk. in foreign languages.we. needn't worry about. making too. much also can enrich our life.let's enjoy reding

  • Why don't We Stand Out and Fight? 2018-4-4 14:14

    It is actually emotionally and mentally healthy to have nursing homes for old people in residential areas, and makes it easy for families to visit their elderly relations regularly.
    Death happens to everyone and it is stupid to hide it away. Death is not bad luck - it will happen to you and me.
    In some European countries there are homes for the elderly next to kindergartens, and everyone benefits from interacting with each other on a daily basis.
    The elderly benefit from interacting with children and keeps them mentally alert, whereas the young learn about death as a normal part of life.

    For a country that supposedly 'respects' their elders, China has a very superstitious attitude to death and dying.
    where i am from, the elderly are allowed and supported by family and state) to be independent and in their own homes.
    Where medical treatment is needed, residential homes allow the elderly appropriate facilities in towns and cities while their families can visit easily and local residents can interact with them.
    In addition, local communities benefit from being able to interact with these residents and the residents can still be part of a local community, not hidden away as something to be ashamed of or 'taboo'.

    Shame on China for such medieval superstitious attitudes regarding death.
    Does China 'respect' the elderly so much that they should be hidden away from people's lives?

    Do you want to be isolated and hidden away when you are old and your family don't want to or can't visit you?

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