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观《老炮儿》有感

  2015年末上映的《老炮儿》在国内引起了巨大反响。对这样一部有关于上一代人江湖道义的影片,两代人的感想也各有千秋。本文作者和父母在“家庭日”里一起去观看了这部电影。作为上一辈的父母对影片感同身受,在这部影片里看到的是曾经以道义为重的价值观在如今社会遭受的冲击,而身为90后的作者在这部影片中可以思考的是在金本位的现代社会中值得我们传承的传统价值观是什么。正如六爷的儿子所言,现代社会这个江湖光靠“混”而没有一技之长是行不通的,但全凭单打独斗而抛弃全部的信义道德也同样不可取。而这也是本片想要引起我们思考的地方——究竟是什么值得为之奋斗。

  By Leo Luo

  翁诗易 注

  A trip to the movies with my parents usually turns out two ways: I’m both shaking my head and groaning as my parents say they didn’t get the movie, or it’s the other way around. This time it was no different. I was home for the holidays and we decided to go watch a movie together. Gritting my teeth in preparation for a long car ride home with me trying to explain the plot of the movie to them, I agreed. After all, family time came few and far between as I continued through university, and will only become less and less frequent as I enter the working world. But that night my parents decided to watch the movie that was all the rage in China: Mr. Six. Two and a half hours later, I walked out of the movie theatre confused, and not just because of the heavy Beijing drawl that slurred together the Chinese words. There was simply too much in the movie that I did not understand on a cultural and generational level. The car ride home, and many days afterwards, was filled with my parents and even my relatives explaining all the cultural and generation-specific references that were found in Mr. Six. And now, I think I’ve understood the movie, but not completely from the perspective that my parents and their generation see it.

  The movie Mr. Six recounts the story of a former gang leader named Mr. Six who spends his days in Beijing wandering the hutongs behind the popular Hou Hai district. Although he has long since abandoned his days of mob fights against rival gangs, he still occasionally involves himself in spats between the police and his friends, or even sometimes performing good deeds for those in need of money, as dictated by his personal code of jianghu (honour among criminals). His tranquil life is turned upside down when his estranged son is kidnapped by a gang of young people who have nothing guiding their actions except money and pleasure. The movie illustrates the clash of generations between Mr. Six and the rich young people, drawing particular emphasis on how the excess of money has spoiled the young generation into lacking any respect for either traditions or anyone outside their circle. Despite coming from a low social class and possessing a criminal background, Mr. Six and his former gang members (and later on, his son) were cast as the only characters who upheld the values of loyalty and honour found in old Beijing. The movie seemed to represent a pitiful call of nostalgia for a simpler time and simpler relationships between those called friends and family.

  While my parents fell in love with the movie, I found that I drew grimmer conclusions. Speaking as a young person who still needs to worry about making a living, I agreed with Mr. Six’s son when he confronted his father over his lack of applicable skills. His son accused his father of being a thug, which only sent him to jail for his constant fighting, no matter who he was sticking up for. As my record of rejected job applications keep reminding me, loyalty and honour are not employable. If students nowadays cannot find jobs even with advanced degrees, how can they have the time to always be there for their friends during moments of trouble? Although the movie portrays Mr. Six as the paragon of old world values despite his criminal background and low social class, I cannot fully endorse Mr. Six as a role model for me and my generation. While Mr. Six stays rooted in the past because it is the only thing he knows (and frankly, wants to know), young people should be seizing every opportunity they can to expand their horizons. Innovation must be at the forefront of our minds, from fields like science to literature to even politics. As both business and social connections weave the world together, we must spend our energy embracing the values of entrepreneurship and ambition in order to have the best chance of making a living.

  However, the movie relays another important, but perhaps wishful message, regarding values that is also directed towards my generation. During the final scene of the movie, when Mr. Six stared down his foes at the frozen lake behind the Summer Palace with his sword in hand, it seemed like he was going to die alone. At that moment, dozens of cars swerved up to the lakeside and all of Mr. Six’s former gang members tumbled out, from the successful businessman dressed in designer brands to the limping veteran who eked out a living repairing bikes on the streets. Each clutched some sort of weapon in hand as they gathered behind Mr. Six, shouting “Whoever makes an enemy of Mr. Six, makes an enemy of all of us!” The sight of these brothers uniting for their friend at his greatest time of need left me with a half-smile. On the one hand, I did not break into a full grin because moments like those are staples that movies live off of, but rarely happen in real life. It isn’t so easy to risk everything, from reputation to even physical injury, to help out a friend. But on the other hand, I appreciated that scene because of its call to reflection, especially for young people. It reminds us to ponder what is worth making money for. While wealth makes life comfortable, it’s the friends and family who stay at our side that make life worth living. And those bonds are only kept alive through remaining loyal and approachable even when social statuses change or when one falls on hard times. In other words, I believe that spending money on grabbing a beer with someone I can call a brother far outweighs sipping the finest merlot in the world alone.

  Watching Mr. Six also reminded me of a similar movie called Midnight in Paris, directed by Woody Allen and starring Owen Wilson. The movie told the story of an aspiring author named Gil who idolizes the era of the “Lost Generation” in Paris, and is magically transported back to those years each midnight. As I watched Gil converse face to face with his heroes like Earnest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, not to mention falling in love with a charismatic beauty, I was treated to a glimpse of the liveliness of that era that no textbook could capture. Although Gil eventually realised that he had to learn to live in the present, he had relished those visits to the 1920s where he could cure his nostalgia. While both movies played with the theme of nostalgia for bygone eras, Midnight in Paris celebrates the past while Mr. Six laments its passing. Perhaps this message resonated the most with my parents and their generation because they grew up in Beijing during the 1970s and 1980s. For them, the character of Mr. Six was a symbol of the values that they were raised with. Concepts such as unquestionable loyalty to friends, respect for elders, and upholding traditions were second nature to them, and Mr. Six embodied all of these qualities. The contrast between Mr. Six and the kind of young people that his son was involved with only emphasized the loss of those values in this day and age. It was like watching their childhood hero thrashing to stay afloat against the floodwaters of modern society. But I found that when boiled down to their cores, both Midnight in Paris and Mr. Six are two sides of the same coin. Both movies illuminate how the past represented pinnacles of beauty or righteousness, which can only be found in nostalgic memories that cannot fit in with the current generation. Yet from another point of view, perhaps that is the true worth of nostalgia: it shows me and my generation which values and traditions are worth holding on to, no matter how society changes or how much money we make. After all, it’s not enough just to live, we must hold onto what is worth living for.

  Vocabulary

  1. wistful: 沉思的,引起怀念的。

  2. 我跟爸妈一起去看电影,到最后只会有两种结果:要么我爸妈说他们没看懂,我只能摇着头冷哼,要么就是反过来。groan:(不满意而)发出哼声。

  3. grit one’s teeth: 咬牙,此处为下定决心,鼓起勇气之意。

  4. all the rage: (口语)风靡一时的事物;Mr. Six: 电影《老炮儿》,该片讲述了当年名震京城一方的顽主六爷被时代所抛弃,现在孤身一人跟他的几个老哥们固守着自己的生活方式。

  5. drawl: 拉长腔调的说话方式;slur: 含混不清地说。

  6. recount: 叙述;gang: (常聚在一起闹事打斗的)一帮年轻人。

  7. abandon: 放弃;mob: 暴民,乌合之众;rival: 竞争的;spat: 小冲突,争吵;dictate: 影响,控制;code: 规范,行为规则。

  8. tranquil: 平静的;turn upside down: 使陷入混乱;estranged: (关系)疏远的;kidnap: 绑架;a gang of: 一伙。

  9. clash: 冲突;spoil: 宠坏。

  10. cast as: 把……分类,认定某人为……;uphold: 赞成。

  11. pitiful: 可怜的,令人同情的;nostalgia: 怀旧之情,后文nostalgic为其形容词。

  12. grim: 糟糕的,令人沮丧的。

  13. confront: 面对;applicable: 合适的,适用的。

  14. thug: 恶棍,暴徒;stick up for: 支持,维护。

  15. paragon: 模范;endorse: 认可,赞同。

  16. frankly: 坦白讲;expand one’s horizon: 开阔视野。

  17. at the forefront of: 处于最前列,处于最重要的位置。

  18. weave: 编织;embrace: 欣然接受;entrepreneurship: 企业家精神。

  19. relay: 传达;direct toward: 针对。

  20. foe: 敌人。

  21. 这时湖岸边驶来了很多辆车,从车上蜂拥而出的全是六爷以前的帮派弟兄,有穿着名牌服装的成功生意人,也有靠修自行车勉强维生的跛脚老兵。swerve: 转弯,突然转向;tumble out: 蜂拥而出;limping: 跛脚的;veteran: 老兵;eke out a living: 勉强维生。

  22. clutch: 抓着,紧握。

  23. break into a full grin: 露齿大笑起来;staple: 主要部分;live off of: 依靠,依赖。

  24. help out: 帮助某人脱离困境。

  25. ponder: 仔细考虑,沉思。

  26. outweigh: 比……重要;merlot: 梅洛葡萄酒,是世界上著名红酒品种之一。

  27. Midnight in Paris: 电影《午夜巴黎》,2011年由伍迪•艾伦编剧并执导,欧文•威尔逊主演的一部以法国巴黎为背景的浪漫喜剧和奇幻电影。

  28. aspiring: 有抱负的;idolize: 极端崇拜;era: 时代;Lost Generation: 迷惘的一代。第一次世界大战以后出现于美国的一个文学流派,代表作家有海明威、菲兹杰拉德、福克纳等。

  29. converse: 交谈;Earnest Hemingway: 欧内斯特•海明威,美国作家和记者,20世纪最著名的小说家之一,代表作有《老人与海》、《太阳照常升起》等;F. Scott Fitzgerald: 弗朗西斯•斯科特•菲茨杰拉德,20世纪美国最杰出的作家之一,代表作有《了不起的盖茨比》、《夜色温柔》等;treat sb. to sth.: 用……招待;charismatic: 有魅力的;liveliness: 活力,活跃;capture: 逼真地表现。

  30. relish: 喜爱,享受。

  31. lament: 哀悼,痛惜。

  32. resonate with: 与……产生共鸣。

  33. embody: 体现。

  34. thrash: 翻腾,猛烈摆动;afloat: 漂浮着的。

  35. boil down to: 归结为,归根到底。

  36. illuminate: 阐明;pinnacle: 顶峰;righteousness: 正义,公正。

来源:英语学习杂志
责任编辑:Cherry

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