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Global Perspectives

Arts and entertainment: Chinese movie

December 11, 2019

Introduction: As writing instructors in UWRF’s English Language Transition (ELT) Program one of our missions is to involve English learning students in campus activities while strengthening their knowledge of English. We could think of no better way to do this than to have them publish an article in the Student Voice. What you are about to read is the final product of several sessions of brainstorming and writing followed by consultations with native speakers including some from the TESOL program and the Student Voice. — Kiki Augustin (ESL 211 Intermediate Writing) and Alex Hatheway (MODL 310 Advanced Composition)

Recently, a Chinese movie Better Days received good reviews. It tells a story between two high school students, which reflects a phenomenon: school bullying. Chen Nian is a top student in the school. Her only thought was to be admitted to a good university. 

However, she was involved in her classmate’s accident. At her most lonely moment, a boy named Xiaobei broke into her world. Most people are bright and happy at the age of 18, but they have tasted the indifference of the adult world ahead of them. A “battle” is being staged, and they will guard the dignity of teenagers together. 

This is a thick and growing emotional story. It is both stinging and full of profound social critiques. The truth lies in its most intuitive display of violence, humanity and confusion. One of the reasons I like this movie is that it shows no one is perfect. Chen Nian chose to bear intolerance when she was suffering from bullying. This is not necessarily a weakness, but a terrible self-denial. Xiaobei is also inferior. He went to fight and to be a bludger, just to hide the cowardice of the heart. 

As long as an unconventional thing happens, people often don’t ask who is making mistakes. They only point at the victim who created the trouble and bring up the old saying “One hand alone can’t clap”. The wicked people who don’t understand the discretion have escaped the punishment. Better Days is unfolding in such an atmosphere: even in the hot summer days, it is always wrapped in bleak and cold, only with the a few occasional warm days.