by Kong Xiangyun
When someone asked director Lou Ye why the movie was called “Summer Palace”? He said, because he felt that in the Summer Palace, through the lens when Yu Hong and Zhou Wei were boating on the sparkling lake was the most beautiful scene. .
I looked at the college students of the 90s in the film , regardless of gender, they unscrupulously danced, loved gathered, rocked ,smoked and made love, they were able to freely access the male and female dormitories , meeting with this or that group of people thus encouraging freedom and passion, while praising decadence and a seemingly crazily confused state. In the year I was born, the group of young people who are the same age as I am now enjoyed such freedom and passion.
I think the development of social history has always been rising like a ladder from conservative to civilized, but if we look at the greenhouse generation, even in the Art Academy which is supposed to be full of treason and resistance, absenteeism is considered deviant, students just draw neatly, regarding teachers’ sentences as the Bible, neither caring about politics nor the orientation of social development. Even the so-called art circle is also poorly understood, they often feel nothing, think about passing examinations and being assigned to a good department, then graduate, then fear what they are to do after graduation. We grow up in an era of reform and opening up which is committed to the growth of the economy, the biggest feature is pragmatic. How to find a good job? How to earn more money? Finding purpose and reason full of practical significance for all our actions, ideals and spirit become as pale and ridiculous as orchid fingers.
There is no Hai zi in our generation, neither Gu Cheng! Ideal is pale! Faith is absent!
But, in the upper portion of the “Summer Palace”, it is a kind of spiritual symbol. Yu Hong met Zhou Wei who impressed her through her whole life in Tsinghua University, like other young men of that era, they soon fell in love, made love crazily, and also suffered the feelings of the bottleneck, silently bore the emptiness and desperation brought by the over-expansion of freedom. When the music sounded, the young group rushed out of their bedrooms and classrooms wave after another wave, jumped on trucks. While watching they wave posters and banners, singing, dancing, embracing acquaintances and strangers, my tears suddenly drop – not because of the political tragedy, but for the freedom and spirit that existed in such a pure but warm way!
After the events, many lost young people chose to go abroad, Zhou Wei and Yu Hong’s girl friend Li Ti went to Germany, while Yu Hong went to the Shenzhen, Yu Hong encountered several men of different identities, but when she was with them, her heart still couldn’t get rid of Zhou Wei. Life in Germany bored Zhou Wei, so he decided to return home to find Yu Hong, after returning home, he found that Yu Hong was married, they embraced and kissed as before in a highway service station by the sea, but suddenly stopped, Zhou asked Yu to buy cigarettes for him , when Yu went over the bridge, Zhou roared past her in his car without saying another word.
What I care about is that age, a lot of angry youths, the love of that era, because it is romantic. Zhang Yiwu said that communism is really just a good idea and a romantic commitment, extreme ideal is extreme unreality, it may never come true, but we cannot deny the process of human beings to follow it.
However，our generation forgets about this, living in the moment has become mainstream thinking, Over-stressed individuals did not liberate humanity, but contributed to the desires of indulgence, this era’s indifference is chilling. Proliferation of the media causes the stagnation of our thinking, the brain is blocked by outside messages and opinions, self-reflection and inward vision become so difficult. Inundation of the internet is full of kitsch, such as verbal abuse, all kinds of silly gossip and speculation, apart from the need of adequate clothing and food, money and position, is there no other reason to exist?
It is necessary to stop and think about this era.
The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of CAFA ART INFO.