[14] Review of the Two Movies  
Author:Ma Yueting   Time:2015-11-18 4:34:54
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It鈥檚 really a heartbreaking night when I watched two upsetting movies together. We all know there are dark sides in the world although in most cases we鈥檙e lucky enough to not experience them. But you still feel upset when they are shown to you in such a graphic and detailed way.

One of the movies, the Chinese one, The Blind Mountain, tells a story of a graduate girl, Bai Chunmei, being deceived and sold to an old and ugly man as wife in a remote and poor mountain. Try as she might, she didn鈥檛 manage to escape. The story ends with her throwing the chopper at the man, her husband Degui, a seeming relief to the audience who have also felt the unspoken depression as the heroine does. But what follows that relief? The most likely result is tragedy of another version.

The other one is an American movie produced by Hollywood. The name of the movie, nightmare in Badham County, gives a horrifying impression itself. But the story of it is even more horrifying鈥攊nhuman treatment and terrifying sexual torture the film has displayed is completely unimaginable.

The two movies both focus on unfair treatment of women, but vary with each other because of different country and social background. From my point of view, the two movies differ in the theme though they both choose women as the object of revealing the theme. And that difference, I believe, is due to the difference between Chinese and American society.

The blind mountain is an epitome of the poverty in Chinese countryside. Women trafficking has long been a heated issue in china, and despite the harsh reaction on the internet among the public, it remains an unsolved social hazard. Civilized internet users tend to pour furious condemnation upon those uneducated villagers for the sake of humanity and human rights. But an unpleasant fact that we may find it hard to accept is that their barbarous doings are originated from poverty and ignorance. They鈥檙e definitely wrong. What they have done is undoubtedly inhuman and indefensible. But it鈥檚 no use blaming a group of people who virtually have no access to high-level education and who don鈥檛 have a single concept of modern laws. Actually, not only do we see the miserable life of the heroine, but we also learn about the living conditions in rural areas in China where people live in bottom line and struggle to survive. Corruption and inaction of government, negligence for the vulnerable groups, endemic apathy of common people and hypocrisy in anywhere鈥 All these negative aspects and disappointing social ills are shown in the movie, graphically. The chilling image is a reminder of the dark side of our society, reminding us to take actions to make some change.

The other, Nightmare in Badham County, is a rather horrific movie. In fact, the version we saw are cut and some graphic scenes are excluded. This lessens the impact it gives me, and somewhat blocks me from understanding the theme. Also the language barrier stands on the way of better comprehension. Although I was a bit confused when watching the movie, something in it still impressed me. The two girls were arrested by an elaborate trap with the help of people of different social status. I鈥檓 amazed to find that everyone in that town seemingly joined directly or indirectly into the scheme. It looked like a hell where every individual in the area formed a hard barricade and where no one could escape. The uneducated prisoners endured the inhuman treatment without even knowing that they were deprived of their basic human rights. The common people in the town and the visitors to the county kept silent when threatened. No one stood out against the torture put on them before the two girls were sent there. It was an epitome of the dark sides of our society: When evil grows powerful enough to rule an area, we tend to yield or remain silent for self-protection. Even if we realize that our surrender will give rise to it, we鈥檙e always too cautious for taking actions and too smart for being the first one to take a step.

To conclude, personally I regard the two movies with different themes. The Blind Mountain focuses on the poverty and the outgrowth of it, which is typical in Chinese rural areas. Nightmare in Badham Count concerns about some more general social problems: unspeakable injustice and excessive tolerance, which are seen in every corner in the globe.

Still, the two movies have something in common. They both choose perspective of women; they don鈥檛 exactly talk about the circumstance of women, but express something deeper. Women are chosen as a symbol of the disadvantaged group, but the movies show more than that.

椹偊濠 (Martina)


Comments:
2015-11-30 12:25:15
Hi, I am Xudong Jin from Penn State University. I am glad to communicate with you through this activity.

Overall, you did a great job identifying the themes of these two movies and similarities/differences as well. I agree with you that both movies showed social backwards which existed in China and US, especially rural area.

As you mentioned in your article, the differences between two movies were due to the difference between Chinese and Amercian society. My thought is you can explore and further this point of view. For example, in 1970s, racism was still a common problem/belief in US society, espeically in southern part of US, which had a long history of slavery. On another side, in China, 1990s, the traidtional social values such as having a boy to inherit family's name still rooted deeply in people's value sustem, especially the area where modern education was not universal.

These are my comments and you are welcomed to disscuss it with me through email. My email address is xvj5033@psu.edu. Looking forward to communicate with you.


Comments:
2015-11-30 17:00:04
I鈥檓 Ma Yueting. Thanks for your comment and your suggestion. Actually, I agree with you that racism and sexual prejudice are also the themes of the movies. I didn鈥檛 mention that in the article what with limitation in word count and the understanding of the film: honestly I don鈥檛 think that racism or traditional concept of male dominance is the cause of the tragedies. But if we are to further every root cause behind the tragedy, certainly we need to take those factors into consideration. In this aspect I consider your advice to be quite brilliant.

If you have any further suggestion or comment, please contact me by mail. My mail address is:1301326726@qq.com. I鈥檓 looking forward to your reply.



Comments:
2015-12-1 0:34:42
Hi,I am Xudong Jin. I have read your replys to my previous comments and they are great. I also noticed that you mentioned in your article that you may not fully understand the themes of the second movie so I think we can talk with each other and help you to get a better/clearer understanding of the themes.


Comments:
2015-12-1 11:26:06
Hey, Ma Yueting!



This is Poe from Penn State University. You did a great job explaining everything. I have a better understanding for Blind Mountain now. You talk about poverty, education and mistreatment of females. You mentioned you don't fully comprehends Nightmare in Badham County. The movie is based on real events that happened during the 1970's in the US, and America had ended Civil War. There were a lot of racial and labor issues back then. Also using convicts for farming used to be a big thing.



Overall it was a great!

Please contact me via my email ppk5029@psu.edu for further discussion.

Thanks!

-Poe


Comments:
2015-12-3 18:49:22
To Xudong Jin:

I鈥檓 Ma Yueting. Thanks for your comments and I really appreciate your advice. In fact I believe that as you live in the USA you鈥檙e certainly to have better understanding of the movie than me. I鈥檓 glad that you would be willing to share your opinions with me. As I see it, the American movie showed a graphic picture of labor exploitation of prisoners, along with racial hatred. What puzzles me most is that why such inhuman treatment could exist while everyone in the town knew it? Is there a benefit chain among the dwellers in the region? If everyone involved in the case would not stand up for the rights of the oppressed prisoners, how could it be ended? Also, in the end of the film, Cathy鈥檚 father came to save her out of the farm, but I don鈥檛 know why couldn鈥檛 he take some actions to change the situation?

if you have your answers to my questions or have anything to share with me, you can just reply in comment and send me an email to inform me of it. I would reply it as soon as I see it. My email address is:1301326726@qq.com.



Comments:
2015-12-3 19:12:30
To Poe:

Hi, this is Ma Yueting. Thanks for your compliment for my article and your explanation of the film Nightmare in Badham County, and I鈥檓 glad that you have got a better understanding of the film Blind Mountain. Your explanation of the movie arouses some thought in me. I once read about civil was in America in the book Gone With The Wind when I was in middle school. I was impressed by the scenic image of farms in South and the romance of Scarlett, but less interested in the slavery and historic background. After reading through your comment, I wonder whether the labor issues and racial hatred shown in the film has something to do with the conventional dominant culture in the South, and that they are problems left over by history? Also, 鈥淎lso using convicts for farming used to be a big thing.鈥 I don鈥檛 quite understand what you mean by 鈥渁 big thing鈥. Could you please explain it?

I鈥檓 pleased that you talked with the historical context of the film, which enlightened me a lot. it would be really great if you could talk more about it. I鈥檓 looking forward to your reply. If you reply in the comments, please send me an email at my mail box:1301326726@qq.com so that I could contact you and reply as soon as I see it.



Comments:
2015-12-3 19:52:52
To Poe:

Hi, this is Ma Yueting.

Thanks for your patient explanation. Your answers are clear and well-organized, and they quite dissolve my confusion. But I still have other unsolved questions for the film: why such inhuman treatment could exist while everyone in the town knew it? Is there a benefit chain among the dwellers in the region? If everyone involved in the case would not stand up for the rights of the oppressed prisoners, how could it be ended? Also, in the end of the film, Cathy鈥檚 father came to save her out of the farm, but I don鈥檛 know why couldn鈥檛 he take some actions to change the situation?

I must say I don鈥檛 understand the film well. Maybe it鈥檚 a cultural barricade that prevents me from understanding. I believe that you could have some insight in the above questions and I quite hope you could share your ideas with me. You could reply in comment and if it鈥檚 convenient, please send me an email to 1301326726@qq.com to contact me so that I could reply as soon as I see the email.



Comments:
2015-12-7 22:33:38
Reflection

I鈥檓 really honored to get the opportunity to exchange my ideas with foreign students. In fact, I believe that students from two countries will certainly have different ideas about the two movies due to their own values and understanding of the society. It鈥檚 enjoyable to have someone from totally different society to share opinions with you and have discussion about social issues. The most impressive part of the activity is that my partner told me about the historical context of the movie Nightmare in Badham County, after which I gradually came to understand why the tragedy could have happened as the movie showed. Also, when my American partner mentioned the movie Blind Mountain, he thought that the police, in the end of the movie, didn鈥檛 take other women out of the mountain because they didn鈥檛 receive money. This point of view is somewhat wrong and is due to the incomplete understanding of Chinese society. So during the activity, we pointed out it and explained to him, and I鈥檓 glad to find that he has got some new ideas about the issue.

To conclude, I think it鈥檚 a wonderful experience. The drawbacks, however, may be that students don鈥檛 get in touch with each other frequently or regularly what with time difference and obsession with other issues. I think that if we could communicate more, we both would certainly have more gaining from the activity.



Ma Yueting from GDUFS





Comments:
2015-12-8 1:37:25
To Ma Yueting



This is Poe. After Civil War, slavery technically ended but it doesn't mean people in the south accepted the idea. As you can see in the movie, most of the convicts were still a high number of African Americans. During that time, The southern's economic runs off farming. After the civil war, lack of labor become a problem in the south. So they use convicts to farm and that's why it was a big thing. Cathy's father didn't do anything because technically those people were still convicts and he isn't a southerner. Honestly, he could have reported to higher up but things wouldn't change much. This was happening in all over the south. Authorities in the north and south are different. Even though it's the same country, I think they had a very different views on politic.





-POE


Comments:
2015-12-8 7:02:41
To YueTing:

I am Xudong Jin. For your questions in your previous reply, here are my answers and explanations. Form a sociological perspective, the phenomenon that terrible things happened and no people in that town speak out is called collective conscience. This was common in a lot of rural areas in US where people rely or put more attention to the local community rather than the state. They build up a strong network and institution by the "insiders". This system can be changed if it draw more people's attention from the outside, which I think is one of the main goal of this movie. Cathy's father is just not powerful enough, suitation would be change if the central government invloved. Similar example you could compare was "little rock nine" accident in 1957.

Hope my answers would help you when you revising your paper. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other futher questions.



Xudong Jin


Comments:
2015-12-9 10:32:23
To Poe:

Hi! This is Ma Yueting. Thanks for your explanation. I really appreciate your view on the film and your understanding of the historical context of the film. After reading about what you replied, I came to realize why the tragic story could have happened: that is, due to the endemic exploitation of prisoners as labor in certain historic period. However, I still have some puzzles: I think the film shows more than racism because white female prisoners were also inhumanly treated in the county. So why were the white women also put into such miserable situations?

If you could have some answers to my questions, please reply in comments. And if it鈥檚 convenient, please send me an email to 1301326726@qq.com to contact me so that I could reply as soon as I see the email.



Comments:
2015-12-9 10:55:26
To Xudong Jin:

Hi! This is Ma Yueting. Thanks for your explanation. Your answers are quite brilliant and of theoretical insight. The concept 鈥渃ollective conscience鈥 you brought up with actually enlightened me about the deep reason of many similar tragedies in human history. People involved in an activity tend to neglect or fail to realize the wrongdoing of themselves because the social environment provides a shelter or discourages 鈥渋nsiders鈥 to break the unanimous coherence of the community. This concerns some studies in sociology, which I鈥檒l read some books about after this activity. I think it鈥檚 fortunate that I could apprehend something new from your opinions.

I also surfed the internet for the 鈥渓ittle rock nine鈥 event and I found that it was the conflict caused by racism, which has been the social plight of America since the civil war. I鈥檝e now got better understanding of the movie and I鈥檓 grateful to your sincere sharing of your knowledge.

If you have anything to share and communicate with me, please reply in comments and send me an email to 1301326726@qq.com to contact me so that I could reply as soon as I see the email.



Comments:
2015-12-9 16:25:46
Revision



1301326726@qq.com



It鈥檚 really a heartbreaking night when I watched two upsetting movies together. We all know there are dark sides in the world although in most cases we鈥檙e lucky enough to not experience them. But you still feel upset when they are shown to you in such a graphic and detailed way.



One of the movies, the Chinese one, The Blind Mountain, tells a story of a graduate girl, Bai Chunmei, being deceived and sold to an old and ugly man as wife in a remote and poor mountain. Try as she might, she didn鈥檛 manage to escape. The story ends with her throwing the chopper at the man, her husband Degui, a seeming relief to the audience who have also felt the unspoken depression as the heroine does. But what follows that relief? The most likely result is tragedy of another version.



The other one is an American movie produced by Hollywood. The name of the movie, nightmare in Badham County, gives a horrifying impression itself. But the story of it is even more horrifying鈥攊nhuman treatment and terrifying sexual torture the film has displayed is completely unimaginable.



The two movies both focus on unfair treatment of women, but vary with each other because of different country and social background. From my point of view, the two movies differ in the theme though they both showed the inhuman treatment imposed on women. And that difference, I believe, is due to the difference between Chinese and American society.



The blind mountain is an epitome of the poverty in Chinese countryside. Women trafficking has long been a heated issue in china, and despite the harsh reaction on the internet among the public, it remains an unsolved social hazard. Civilized internet users tend to pour furious condemnation upon those uneducated villagers for the sake of humanity and human rights. But an unpleasant fact that we may find it hard to accept is that their barbarous doings are originated from poverty and ignorance. They鈥檙e definitely wrong. What they have done is undoubtedly inhuman and indefensible. But it鈥檚 no use blaming a group of people who virtually have no access to high-level education and who don鈥檛 have a single concept of modern laws. Actually, not only do we see the miserable life of the heroine, but we also learn about the living conditions in rural areas in China where people live in bottom line and struggle to survive. Corruption and inaction of government, negligence for the vulnerable groups, endemic apathy of common people and hypocrisy in anywhere鈥 All these negative aspects and disappointing social ills are shown in the movie, graphically. The chilling image is a reminder of the dark side of our society, reminding us to take actions to make some change.



The other, Nightmare in Badham County, is a rather horrific movie. The two girls were arrested by an elaborate trap with the help of people of different social status. I鈥檓 amazed to find that everyone in that town seemingly joined directly or indirectly into the scheme. It looked like a hell where every individual in the area formed a hard barricade and where no one could escape. The uneducated prisoners endured the inhuman treatment without even knowing that they were deprived of their basic human rights. The common people in the town and the visitors to the county kept silent when threatened. No one stood out against the torture put on them before the two girls were sent there. It was an epitome of the dark sides of our society: When evil grows powerful enough to rule an area, we tend to yield or remain silent for self-protection. According to my American partner, this is called 鈥渃ollective conscience鈥 .in sociological terms. People involved in an activity tend to neglect or fail to realize the wrongdoing of themselves because the social environment provides a shelter or discourages 鈥渋nsiders鈥 to break the unanimous coherence of the community. Also, the racism and exploitation of prisoners as labor shown in the film is the problem left over by history and existed in a widespread area in south of America. It鈥檚 after my American partners explained the historical context of the film setting that I came to understand why such tragedy could have happened.



To conclude, personally I regard the two movies with different themes. The Blind Mountain focuses on the poverty and the outgrowth of it, which is typical in Chinese rural areas. Nightmare in Badham Count, however, showed the social plight left over by civil war.



Still, the two movies have something in common. They both choose perspective of women; they don鈥檛 exactly talk about the circumstance of women, but express something deeper. Women are chosen as a symbol of the disadvantaged group, but the movies show more than that.



椹偊濠 (Martina)



Comments:
2015-12-9 16:34:00
To Poe & Xudong Jin:

Hi! This is Ma Yueting. I have sent both of you the email with appendix of the Word documentary, in which I have highlighted what improvements I have made to my articles so that you could read through it and find the differences more conveniently. If you have any questions or advice for improvement, please write on the comment and contact me. My email address is: 1301326726@qq.com.



Comments:
2015-12-18 13:09:54


Comments:
2015-12-18 13:10:16
Hi, Martina,I'm Kitty,a student from GDUFS.

I'm very glad to read your article and your interactions with Poe and Xudong Jin. You three have a deep discussion on the social phenomena and the history of American civil war. I learn a lot from your interactions.

In your last reply to Poe you posed a question, and I would like to share my idea about it.

You said,"However, I still have some puzzles: I think the film shows more than racism because white female prisoners were also inhumanly treated in the county. So why were the white women also put into such miserable situations? "

Here are my viewpionts.

First, as Poe said in his reply,"After the civil war, lack of labor become a problem in the south. So they use convicts to farm and that's why it was a big thing." Lack of labor in the south might be a reason to explain why Cathy was put into the farm.



Second,I think Nightmare in Badham County concerns both with ricial and gender discrimination. That's why all the prisoner were women in the farm.



I don't know whether I have made myself understood. Feel free to contact me. My email address is :992281331@qq.com. Thanks for your attention.