• 2006-11-14

    Gimme Kudos


    I watched a locally made movie last weekend,entitled" Gimme Kudos",which is a pretty rare thing,given the deep-seated notion I hold that Chinese made movies,with a select few glaring exceptions,are all rubbish,if anything.

     And this one,I MUST ADMIT,seems to be another worthy exception.For it got me thinking,among other things..And it's a pretty rare thing too.

     The storyline of it goes something like this: One day A guy named "Yang Hongqi"(the chinese given name means "Red Flag",which has been all too often associated with Communist Patriotism here in China) paid  a surprise visit to this journalist with the local newspaper ,by the name of Gu Guoge(again,the given name is so much more than just a name;In chinese it means "national anthem",which is also a solid inspirer of national pride  in this country) and made a weird request: Gimme Kudos. He asserted that he had saved a girl's life from a rapist the night before and deserved a front-page citation.Reporter Gu refused outright,on the grounds that no eye witness stepped up to  attested to his "story".In default of any witness corroboration,argued Gu,the story would always be a story,a fiction,he being a real-life sufferer of Vanity Syndrome.

      The Red Flag guy simply wouldn't give up.He frequented,haunted the newspaper offices day in and day out,nagged  reporter Gu whenever he got the chance and made his claim to fame ever more steadfastly.Egged on by the editor-in-chief and his own curiosity,Gu decided to research into this yet-to-be-proved incident that is Red Flag's claim to fame.

     What is found was sufficient enough to motivate Gu to carry on with the research.At this point,the victim of the incident,a college girl came to our attention.Called Ouyang Hua,she really looked like a flower(Hua in chinese means Flower).According to Red Flag's story,she was being raped by a thug one stormy night at a street corner when he cycled past to go to work.He quickly came into rescue,scared the thug away,soothed the ravished girl and then sent her back to college.Gu came to Hua for confirmation and was told it was all made-up and nonsense.Gu was bewildered.

    Now everybody starts to question Red Flag's Motives.Why on earth is he so eager to get the news citation? What is he driving at? If there's something fishy about his motive,there must be something just as fishy about the story,they came to conclude.They couldn't be more wrong,as the unfolding story indicates.

    The reason,it turns out,becomes all too obvious after one scene in which Red Flag confided to Gu his deep-cherished dream- that is to earn one news citation to make his Dad happy.Why is making his dad happy so important?Because he is so obsessed with doing good deeds that he expects the same from his son,Red Flag and because he is dying.

    Gu made up his mind again to continue the research,only this time it's not for curiosity,it's for duty,the duty entailed by the holy calling of being a journalist.

    After a dramatic series of mini-events,we all get to know that Red Flag really did that good deed,and Hua,out of consideration for the proservation of her honor(in china the experience of being raped lives on a girl like a permanent stigma),selfishly went into denial.Her owning-up scene took place on the ancient wall that used to surround the old jinling city.I don't think they took it there casually.Perhaps it implies that the conflict between selfish preservation of self-honor and the conscience is an eternal one yet to be solved finally.And by the way,the shot is beautiful.

    I think you got to see the movie.Something in it really got you thinking.especially the part where the conflict is fully exposed.You got to think about what to do in such scenario if you were the protagonist,be it Hua,or Red Flag.

     I tended toward owning up and let nothing praise-worthy go unnoticed ,unsung.Otherwise,in my opinion,integrity will be questioned,good men will suffer,and the moral system of our society would soon be on the verge of collapse.That's the last thing we want in the world we inhabit now.

    What's your take?