芳华 Youth

fānghuá: měihǎo de niánhuá
   芳华 :      美好    的     年华         Beautiful years

The background of this story is China in the 1970s. That was a turbulent time. The Cultural Revolution (1966- 1976) was ending, and China took a huge step forward during these years. Many families became the victims of Cultural Revolution movements, such as He Xiaoping’s father from the movie. During this time because of the reforms and opening-up policy in 1978, many young adults were struggling to adjust to all the changes the country was experiencing. Many millennials (like me ;)) consider the 1970s as a crazy time because of the Cultural Revolution. But the director of the movie, Feng Xiaogang, shows us that those years were also the beautiful years of many youths, including himself. The movie tells a sad story, but also expresses the director’s longing for his youth. (I believe that’s why he utilizes that warm vibe throughout the entire movie.) After I watched the movie, I asked my mom (who went through those turbulent years):

Me: do you miss the 1970s?

Mom: yes, I do. I was the most energetic and naïve during those years.

 

léifēng
雷锋    :Lei Feng: born in 1940, and died in 1962 due to an accident during his military duty. Even today, he is the symbol of selflessness among the Chinese because he selflessly helped others through out his life. The chairman at the time, Mao, encouraged people to “follow the examples of Comrade Lei Feng”.

huóléifēng
   活雷锋   :Living Lei Feng. Usually used to define someone who is as selfless as Lei Feng.

 

zhèshì yígè fāshēng zài
   这是  一个   发生   在 
1970 niándài zhōngguó de jūnduì wéngōngtuán lǐ de gùshì.
1970   年代         中国      的     军队             文工团 里 的 故事 。 
liúfēng shì yīgè wéngōngtuán lǐ de huóléifēng.
刘峰 是 一个 文工团 里 的 活雷锋 。 
wúlùn yǒu shénme máfan rénmen dūhuì zhǎo tā.
无论 有 什么 麻烦 人们 都会 找 他 。 
zhūjuàn lǐ de zhū pǎo le, zhǎo tā,
猪圈 里 的 猪 跑 了 , 找 他 , 
zhànyǒu yào jiéhūn le, xūyào zuò yìzhāng shāfā, zhǎo tā.
战友 要 结婚 了 , 需要 做 一张 沙发 , 找 他 。 
měicì yǒurén zhǎo tā bāngmáng,
每次 有人 找 他 帮忙 , 
tā dōuhuì rènzhēn de bāngmáng.
他 都会 认真 地 帮忙 。 
wǎnfàn de jiǎozi zhǔ làn le, méi rén chī,
晚饭 的 饺子 煮 烂 了 , 没 人 吃 , 
tā dōu huìzhǔ dòng chīdiào.
他 都 会主 动 吃掉 。 
liúfēng shì yīgè dàhǎorén, hǎodé bú xiànshí.
刘峰 是 一个 大好人 , 好得 不 现实 。

This is a story that happened

in a military art troupe during the 1970s.

Liu Feng is called “the Living Lei Feng” in the art troupe.

When people get into trouble, they search for him.

A pig escaped from the pigpen, look for him.

A comrade needs a sofa to get married, look for him.

Every time someone asked for his help

he would always help earnestly.

When dumplings for dinner were overcooked, and nobody ate them,

he would eat them voluntarily.

Liu was a great person, unrealistically good.

hé xiǎo píng shì gāng jiārù wéngōngtuán de nǚbīng.
何 小      萍    是    刚     加入       文工团      的 女兵 。 
tā de bàba zài tā 6 suì deshíhòu
她 的 爸爸  在 她 6 岁    的时候 
bèi pàn zhèngzhìfàn, zhīhòu yìzhí bèi guān zài jiānyù lǐ.
被    判       政治犯 ,    之后    一直  被    关    在   监狱 里 。 
tā de māma zàihūn hòu
她 的   妈妈     再婚   后 
tā jiù yìzhí zàijiā lǐ shòu qīfu.
她  就 一直  在家 里   受  欺负 。 
zhōngyú zhǎngdà le,    líkāi le jiā,
    终于        长大  了 , 离开 了 家 , 
láidào wéngōngtuán, dāng le tiàowǔ de nǚbīng,
 来到          文工团 ,      当 了      跳舞 的   女兵 , 
yǐwéi búhuì zài yǒurén qīfu tā le.
以为   不会   再      有人 欺负 她 了 。

He Xiaoping was a female soldier who just joined the art troupe.

When she was 6, her father

was sentenced to prison as a political prisoner. He has been in prison ever since.

After her mom remarried

He Xiaoping was always ignored and mistreated at home.

She eventually grew up, left home,

came to the art troupe, and became a dancing female soldier,

she thought no one would mistreat her anymore.

kěshì méixiǎngdào zài zhèlǐ,
  可是      没想到       在 这里 , 
tā háishi shòu páijǐ, shòu qīfu.
她   还是   受   排挤 , 受 欺负 。 
rénmen yīnwèi tā shēnshang chòu, qǔxiào tā,
  人们       因为   她      身上        臭 ,   取笑  她 , 
yīnwèi tā búhuì kāiqiāng, qǔxiào tā.
  因为   她  不会      开枪 ,   取笑 她 。 
hǎoxiàng rénmen qīfu tā méiyǒushénme lǐyóu.
    好像         人们    欺负 她        没有什么   理由 。 
hé xiǎo píng bù fǎnkàng, zhǐshì nǔlì liàn wǔdǎo,
何    小    萍   不   反抗 ,    只是  努力 练   舞蹈 , 
shòu qīfu le,     jiù gěi jiānyù lǐ de bàba xiěxìn.
  受    欺负了 , 就 给   监狱 里 的  爸爸   写信 。 
yìtiān,   tā de wǔbàn yīnwèi tā shēnshang chòu,
一天 , 她 的   舞伴     因为   她        身上     臭 , 
jùjué hé tā yìqǐ tiàowǔ,
拒绝  和 她 一起  跳舞 , 
rénmen yòu kāishǐ qǔxiào tā.
   人们     又     开始    取笑  她 。

But she never expected that in here,

she would still be excluded and mistreated by others.

People laughed at her because she was smelly,

they also laughed at her because she didn’t know how to shoot a gun.

It seems that people had no reason for mistreating her.

She didn’t resist, but she only practiced dancing harder.

When she was mistreated, she would write a letter to her dad in prison.

One day, her dancing partner refused to dance with her because

she was smelly,

people laughed at her again.

zhèshí liúfēng zhǔdòng yāoqiú hé tā yìqǐ tiàowǔ.
   这时     刘峰      主动       要求  和 她  一起 跳舞 。 
cóng zhètiān qǐ,   zhège zài wéngōngtuán lǐ
   从       这天 起 , 这个  在         文工团    里 
wéiyī duì tā hǎo de nánhái jiù zǒujìn le tā  de xīnli.
 唯一  对  她   好  的   男孩   就    走进 了 她 的 心里 。 
wéngōngtuán de rìzi yìtiāntiānde guòqù.
       文工团      的 日子   一天天地   过去 。 
liúfēng háishi nàge huóléifēng,
   刘峰    还是  那个     活雷锋 , 
rénmen zūnjìng tā,    yě jīngcháng zhǎo tā bāngmáng.
  人们         尊敬 他 , 也       经常      找    他    帮忙 。 
nǚháizi men dōu xǐhuan hé tā zuò péngyou,
女孩子    们    都       喜欢  和 他  做     朋友 , 
yīnwèi tā cóngláibú jùjué bāngzhù biéren.
   因为  他      从来不 拒绝        帮助     别人 。

Then Liu voluntarily requested to dance with her.

From that day, the boy

who was the only one treating her well, walked into her heart.

Life in the art troupe went on day by day.

Liu was still the living Lei feng.

People admired him, and frequently asked him for help.

Girls loved to befriend him,

because he never refused to help others.

suǒyǐ, dāng tā bǎ shàng dàxué de jīhuì
所以 , 当    他 把     上    大学  的 机会 
zhǔdòng rànggěi biéren deshíhòu, rénmen yìdiǎn dōu bù jīngyà.
     主动        让给     别人    的时候 , 人们       一点   都   不  惊讶 。 
yěxǔ nǐmen bùzhīdào,
 也许  你们     不知道 , 
1970 niándài, shàng dàxué de jīhuì fēicháng xīquē,
1970 年代 ,       上      大学 的  机会    非常     稀缺 , 
liúfēng shì bèi lǐngdǎo tuījiàn shàng dàxué de.
   刘峰    是  被      领导    推荐     上       大学  的 。 
jiéguǒ tā jìngrán bǎ zhège jīhuì rànggěi le  biéren.
  结果   他   竟然   把    这个 机会 让给    了     别人 。 
dànshì rénmen bù jīngyà,    tā shì huóléifēng ma.
   但是    人们     不   惊讶 , 他 是       活雷锋   吗 。 
kěshì,  zhè yícì  liúfēng búshi zhǐ xiǎng zuòhǎo rén
可是 , 这 一次  刘峰      不是  只     想       做好  人 
tā qíshí xǐhuan wéngōngtuán lǐ de yīgè nǚhái hěn jiǔ le,
他 其实    喜欢            文工团   里 的 一个  女孩   很  久 了 , 
tā shì xiǎng děng tā.
他  是     想     等   她 。

So when he voluntarily gave away his spot to attend college,

people weren’t surprised at all.

You might not know this,

during the 1970s, the opportunity to attend college was very rare and valuable.

Liu was recommended by his supervisor to go to college.

In the end he gave it to someone else.

But people were not surprised, after all he’s the Living Lei feng.

However, this time he didn’t just want to be a good person,

but he loved a girl in the art troupe for a long time.

He wanted to wait for her.

yìtiān wǎnshang, liúfēng zhōngyú hé tā gàobái le.
   一天       晚上 ,   刘峰         终于   和 她  告白 了 。 
érqiě bùyóuzìzhǔ de bàozhù le tā,
  而且   不由自主   地     抱住 了 她 , 
nǚhái bùzhīsuǒcuò,
女孩      不知所措 , 
kū zhe huí sùshè,   mà liúfēng shuǎliúméng.
 哭  着   回   宿舍 , 骂    刘峰      “ 耍流氓 ” 。 
shìyǒu men wèn nǚhái: wèishénme biéren bào nǐde shíhou
   室友   们      问    女孩 : “ 为什么          别人 抱   你的  时候 
nǐ bùshuō tā shuǎliúméng?
你    不说   他     耍流氓 ? “ 
nǚhái shuō: liúfēng bùyíyàng,
  女孩   说 : “ 刘峰     不一样 , 
tā bùnéng bào wǒ,     tā shì huóléifēng!
他     不能    抱   我 , 他 是    活雷锋 ! ” 
liúfēng zhèyàng de dàhǎorén,
刘峰          这样   的    大好人 , 
hǎodé bú tài xiànshí,
好得     不  太   现实 , 
hǎodé ràng rén juéde tā méiyǒu rènhé sīyù,
  好得    让   人    觉得  他   没有     任何 私欲 , 
tūrán shuō diànjì zìjǐ hěnduō nián le,
  突然    说     惦记 自己   很多     年 了 , 
nǚhái juéde jīngkǒng, shènzhì ěxīn.
  女孩    觉得    惊恐 ,     甚至   恶心 。

One night, Liu eventually confessed his feelings for her.

and couldn’t help hugging her.

The girl didn’t know what to do,

she ran back to her dorm crying and scolded him for harassing her.

Her roommate asked her: “why didn’t you scold the others harassing you when they hugged you?”

the girl said: “Liu is different,

he can’t hug me, he is the Living Lei feng!”

A great person like Liu,

who is too good to be real,

and makes people believe he has no selfish desires,

when he suddenly told her that he thought about her for years,

she felt terrified, even disgusted.

liúfēng yīnwèi zhèjiàn shì bèi wéngōngtuán gǎn chūqù le.
   刘峰      因为      这件  事   被          文工团      赶    出去 了 。 
zhège huóléifēng, yīnwèi yǒuyícì méi nàme hǎo le,
  这个     活雷锋 ,   因为   有一次   没    那么 “ 好 ” 了 , 
zài zǒu de nàtiān zhǐyǒu nàge tóngyàng
  在   走 的    那天     只有   那个  同样 
bèi jítǐ páijǐ  de héxiǎopíng sòng tā.
被 集体 排挤 的     何小萍       送  他 。

Liu was driven away by the art troupe because of this.

The Living Lei feng, because he was not that “good” that one time,

only He Xiaoping, who was also excluded by the collective, came to see him off on the day he left.

 

Please be advised that the summary above is only a small part of the movie. Check out the actual movie to see what happened after Liu Feng left the art troupe.

 

Join our Chinese event on Saturday night and lets discuss about the movie!

Chinese Book Club – Youth

Saturday, Dec 5, 2020, 7:00 PM

Online event
,

12 Chinese lover Attending

Hi all, Lets learn Chinese while reviewing this beautiful movie “Youth”. The background of this story is China in the 1970s. That was a turbulent time. Many millennials consider the 1970s as a crazy time because of the Cultural Revolution. But the director of the movie, Feng Xiaogang, shows us that those years were also the beautiful years of many…

Check out this Meetup →

 



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