Since the end of World War II, countless war-themed works of art have come out. Regardless of novels, movies, paintings, dramas, music, aggression, killing, blood, sorrow… are their common labels. This is not only a true portrayal of war, a ferocious monster that coexists with the development of civilization and history, but also a solemn commemoration of human suffering by artists in their own ways.
But there are exceptions. Take movies as an example. The French-British co-production Escape from the Tiger’s Mouth (1966) has been loved by audiences for decades. During World War II, a British fighter plane was hit by the German army during a bombing mission, and several British soldiers were forced to parachute to escape. They started a life-and-death game of wits and courage with the German army, with many dangers and dangers. At the same time, many warm jokes were made. The story of Parisian painters and band conductors helping Allied soldiers is beyond laughing. “Mandarin Duck Tea” – the secret code for their meeting in the Turkish bath – has become a striking symbol of the film: laughter is also a counterattack to the invaders powerful weapon. The award-winning Italian film A Beautiful Mind (1997) is a romantic take on the brutality of the Nazi concentration camps. The Jewish youth Guido tried his best to create a beautiful illusion for his son: all cruelty is just a game, and the reward of the game is a big tank. Under his careful protection, the son spent the difficult time with his father with childish innocence and courage. At the last moment, he let his son hide in the iron box on the grounds of hide-and-seek, but what he left for his son was still a smile. He used his life to bring light to his son in the gloom. A netizen said it well: “Guns, explosives, poisonous gas, death, hunger, these things seem powerful, but the final victors can only be people and life… As long as we are not afraid, strong, happy, and hopeful, life will eventually come to an end.” Beautiful.”
And the best movie I have seen in recent years (no one) “Garden of Life and Death” (France 2003) focuses on showing the kindness, loveliness, open-mindedness, and humor of ordinary people in the context of war, and will “laugh with tears” “Interpreted to the extreme.
The movie begins just like ordinary life: people in the small town invite their friends to attend the rally, and the half-child Lucien is full of reluctance, because his father Jacques is going to play the clown again, wearing a red nose to make himself very stupid Lucien didn’t understand the meaning of his father’s simple performances that kept making mistakes. Therefore, Andre, a good friend of Jacques, calmly told Lucien and us the story of this little man’s resistance to aggression and self-sacrifice.
Go back in time to a small French town under the Nazi occupation many years ago. Because the turnout building at the railway station was bombed and transportation was blocked, the Germans maliciously retaliated and threw four residents of the small town as hostages into a mine pit seven or eight meters deep in the wilderness. If no one surrendered within 48 hours, they would be executed. .
The four walls of the pit are gray and bare, and when you look up, you can only see the unfathomable sky. The sun is exposed to the sun and the rain is pouring. The four men are dressed in rags, stepping on the mud, and are suffering every minute. Just when they were suffering from hunger, cold and despair, a fat German soldier wearing a pair of round glasses appeared in the sight of the hostages. The soldier kindly introduced himself as Zhu Zhu, the stage name he played as a clown before being conscripted into the army, “I performed in Paris for two years before the war, and I had a very good impression of France.” Zhu Zhu took out his red nose and put it on, walking around the mine pit Going forward, juggling, skillfully he pretended to miss, and dropped a long piece of bread wrapped in newspaper, and a few apples, Zhu Zhu probably saved his lunch, “There is hope when a man lives”, the hostages heard Zhu Zhu said softly.
Zhu Zhu took a few steps back and left the edge of the pit. His originally smiling face gradually showed pain, pity, anger, and helplessness. At this moment, tears welled up in my eyes. If I was focusing on how the director would perform “Prisoner’s Dilemma” before, Zhu Zhu’s appearance pulled me out of the gloomy and indifferent, and I am grateful to him. No one looked at him, no one looked at him, he didn’t have to hide his inner thoughts, he didn’t have to pretend to be happy or indifferent. The hostages who were sharing the bread and apples couldn’t see it. I just thought that I met a happy and kind German soldier. I saw a face that was incompatible with the cruelty around me. Behind the round glasses was a pair of angelic eyes of compassion.
Zhu Zhu came to the hostages again. This time he simply sat on the edge of the pit, hung his legs, took out a palm-sized accordion, and softly sang the well-known French folk song “Song of the Swallow”. The dying faces of the hostages turned up with a little luster, and the joy of the world returned to their hearts. Zhu Zhu couldn’t rescue them, Zhu Zhu couldn’t stop the killing, what Zhu Zhu could do was to soothe the desperate souls of the hostages with singing, Zhu Zhu’s singing also soothed my soul, and made me appreciate the beauty under the bad luck Kindness regains confidence.
When the deadline was up, the soldiers pointed their guns at the hostages who were waiting to die at the bottom of the pit. Zhu Zhu threw the gun on the ground and refused to carry out the order. He would not be a butcher, even at the cost of his life. Still no one looked at him. The French he treated well could not express his gratitude. He looked at his conscience and humanity. Zhu Zhu, who loves France and loves peace, confronts him with sacrifice, aggression and tyranny. Wearing a red nose, Zhu Zhu fell on the devastated ground. There are many stories about clowns, whose funnyness brings joy to people; under the mask of laughing in front of people, there may be a distorted life, and so on. And Zhu Zhu’s clown hides a great heart of compassion. Zhu Zhu is just a character with few scenes in the movie, but his existence perfectly proves the aesthetic value of a good movie: rich and touching emotional implication, honest and profound character inspiration.
Zhu Zhu sacrificed his life for being kind to the hostages. So, what is the situation of the hostages?
The Germans arrested the four men on the list provided by the villain Fanny in the town. Fanny had more or less a feud with them in order to vent his personal anger. Needless to say, they really caught the right people. Among the four, Ya Ke, the primary school teacher, and Andre, the owner of the hat factory, were the “principal culprits” of Xiaolou.
Two single middle-aged men, one fat and one thin, one tall and one short, one happy and the other elegant, Yake is a primary school teacher, respected by everyone, and Andre runs an ancestral hat factory, and has no worries about food and clothing. In addition to being busy with their respective businesses, the two friends are most happy to go to the tavern run by Louise to have a drink together. This kind of life is normal, the rhythm is soothing, and the heart is stable. War breaks the tranquility. General de Gaulle’s call came from the radio in the bistro: sons and daughters of France, do something for the motherland! This call ignited inner courage, and the two decided to act.
Before the official action, there was a psychological foreshadowing: returning late, walking across the overpass, the two were slightly drunk, and threw the white wine sent by Louise on the German transport train. The Germans fired blindly, and the two were stimulated by the success of the just battle. After practice, it’s time for the big ones: dig out the explosives and detonators buried in the garden, blow up the train station, and block the personnel carrier. The arrangement of the plot is in line with the reality of the two people. They are middle-aged and good-natured, so they can’t do more ostentatious things. Moreover, they have never considered the consequences. They are either experienced and organized resistance fighters, or they just feel like doing something. Something, life will have new meaning. It was also in line with the normal state of France and even other regions occupied by the German army at that time. The vigorous and large-scale resistance movement must only appear in the middle and late stages. The larger number of citizens with a conscience endured silently, waited silently, and then, by accident, inevitably made righteous deeds.
After some frantic preparations, the gunpowder burned Yake’s hand. After a flustered operation, Andre had no idea that the switchman at the railway station was sleeping beside him. The action was successful, and the small building collapsed. The two were so happy that they ran to the tavern to celebrate. Louise is a good woman who understands the two of them, and she dissuaded and worried before, but at this moment, she took out all her possessions: butter, rabbit legs, and duck meat, and carefully cooked a large pot of assorted dishes to reward them. They toasted their feat, they were moved by themselves, and they had never had such a moment of ecstasy. In their previous lives, there may have been all kinds of petty calculations and utilitarianism, and the inner spirit may have focused on the attention of personal destiny and the recognition of personal desires. But in the face of aggression and atrocities, the sense of nobility in life is awakened, and the resistance of the weak is in vain.
The celebratory banquet was interrupted by the slamming sound of the door, the plot changed from relaxed and playful to a sharp turn, and fate was full of dangers. We already know a little about what happened next. Yake, Andre and two other hostages were trapped in the mine, and their lives were only counted in hours. No one outside the pit will surrender, and the “perpetrator” is in the pit; they plan to surrender, but they are worried about implicating Louise; what’s even more paradoxical is that even the other two hostages who can benefit don’t believe it: how could you two do this? thing?
Yes, in the minds of ordinary people, a hero is to turn the tide and dominate the situation. A hero is to rise to the top, the crowd is excited, and a new era of history is created. Moderate, conservative, and timid people like Yake and Andre are really tied to the hero’s tall and brave. Don’t take the bait. Thanks to the movie for its interpretation of civilian heroes, not deliberately overstated, nor indiscriminately sensational. The visual effect of the film makes it easy to strengthen something, and there are all kinds of technical means; it is difficult to weaken it, that is, to restrain it implicitly, but the power of human nature sometimes quietly grows and manifests in weakening or ignoring.
Just tormented in the mine pit until Zhu Zhu appeared, bringing a moment of comfort; until Zhu Zhu fell down, from this moment on.
We all know that the hostages survived. It is impossible to expect kindness from the embittered Germans, so how did the turning point come about? Who unlocked the deadlock?
Gilbert, the switchman who was seriously injured in the bombing operation of the train station by Jacques and Andre, was lying in the hospital and asked his wife Mary to report to the authorities: he did the bombing of the small building, and he surrendered; It is the best arrangement for the hostages to die soon. I immediately remembered a detail in the movie “Schindler’s List”: the Nazis killed innocent people indiscriminately to track down the so-called perpetrators. A little boy stepped out of the queue and pointed to the dead on the ground, “He did it!” The Nazis ended helplessly . This is quick wit, using the dead to help everyone escape difficulties. Mr. Gilbert, on the other hand, volunteered and sacrificed himself to save others.
Mary, who had a deep understanding with her husband, didn’t need her husband to say anything more. She watched her seriously injured husband being carried to the execution ground by German soldiers and executed. At the moment of farewell, there is no sensational lens zooming in and out, only Mary’s eyes looking into the distance and the corners of her tightly closed mouth. Gilbert, who was covered in bandages, did not express any emotion, and only silently rescued the four desperate people from the gun with his own life. Gilbert’s role is even less than Zhu Zhu’s, and the audience can’t even see what he looks like, let alone imagine how he made such a decision. That night, Gilbert was sleeping in the small building on duty. At the moment of the explosion, he saw Andre fleeing. He has no complaints, faces death calmly and firmly, and leaves the hope of life to others. On the balance of Mr. Gilbert’s life, the weight of loss and gain is the broad and noble kindness in his heart.
Two gunshots sounded, Zhu Zhu and the switchman, German soldiers and French workers, two people who had nothing to do with bombing the small building, died bravely. They, as well as Mary, are the most inconspicuous little people in daily life, but people are not classified by nationality or identity, but by heart and personality. The film expresses the awe-inspiring righteousness of ordinary people against aggression in a calm rather than violent, restrained rather than noisy way, which is deeply moving.
After the war, Jacques and Andre met to visit Mary. The two procrastinated and chattered, it was really impossible to say: bombing the train station was done well, dealt a heavy blow to the aggressors, but inadvertently hurt the innocent; Back to his own life. Is it gratitude? Is it an apology? No one could speak, and left in embarrassment. The conscience was really disturbed, and the two turned back. Mary said leisurely: “I expected you to come back, I didn’t expect it to be so soon!” After some jokes, Mary solemnly asked the two to keep the truth a secret and fulfill her husband’s wish to be a hero.
Such a song and tearful feeling, but also a plot twist and emotional sublimation that I did not expect at all. I don’t know which situation is greater: to let the world know the bravery that generations have suffered, or to dissolve other people’s guilt and gratitude with stoic humor. I only know that the righteousness of the world is not only passionate momentum or radiant power. Their greatness grows from the heart, naturally and comfortably; their greatness makes people want to get close to them involuntarily, and when they get close, their souls are cleansed.
They, who have suffered so much from the war, turned their pain and sacrifices into light laughter and went straight to the sky.
I hesitated and didn’t know how to determine the dramatic nature of the movie. It was a tragedy, but I laughed and cried; it was a comedy, but I was afraid of underestimating it. In today’s eccentric and restless era, comedy is often equated with sketches and funny, and the audience is just entertainment and entertainment. The accomplished playwright Zhao Yaomin gave me some pointers: “A comedy must be supported by a tragic theme when it goes deep.” The comedy works of the tragic factor are praised as “the heavy seashell and pearl in the deep water”.
In the days of being occupied by the invaders, the people in the small town tried their best to keep their daily life warm and orderly. Evil could not overwhelm conscience, and darkness could not suppress humor. They love freedom in their own way and love others. Such a people cannot be enslaved by any invader. “Writers detach themselves from tragic emotions and plots and make them comedic.” Their smiling tears are the treasures of human nature with the most aesthetic value.
Yake staggered out of the pit, and picked up the red nose that had rolled to the ground from Zhu Zhu’s side. In the years to come, acting as a clown and bringing joy to friends is the best way for him, them, to commemorate the victims and commemorate those years.
Like Lucien, I applauded and applauded the red nose with sincere tears.