The movie “To Live” is a very heartfelt, emotional movie. The movie was set from the 1940s to the 1960s. This was during the Chinese Civil War and The Cultural Revolution. The movie is about a man who is trying to do everything to get his life together, but misfortunes continue to happen to him every time he tries to do something that would help bring his life around. This involves him getting into gambling and losing everything he has ever owned.
He also failed economically. The way the movie follows this one family around gives a great vantage point to the viewers on how it was to live in China during wartime. One of the saddest parts of the movie was when the man’s son was killed by accident by his best friend. That is just one of all the emotional scenes in this film. This movie “To Live” has a lot of key philosophies and concepts that we all can learn and try to apply to our daily lives.
I would highly recommend this movie to others. “To Live” paints a beautiful picture of the history of China through one family’s eyes.
It captures the Revolution and how it especially affected the farmers and the townsfolk and what they had to do to survive. “To Live” is a great example of what it is like to have nothing and then never give up and make something from that nothing. When watching this film, I started to notice a lot of philosophies and concepts that the great Chinese philosopher Confucius spoke about and lived by every day of his life.
The philosophies that are seen in the movie are played out in many different scenes. First, some concepts and philosophies could not be seen unless you were paying attention. First, philosophy is always to keep going. This philosophy can be seen in the movie when Fugui, one of the star characters lost everything after one night of gambling. Fugui went to go gamble and Jiahen Fugui’s wife asked him to not go and told him if he did she would leave him. He went and lost everything he ever worked for. Jian left him with his children and Fugui was left living on the street. After having everything and then having nothing Fugui still did not give up while living as a peasant. He joined a theater troupe and then he enlists in the army in the hope to be a good citizen and bettering his life.
It does not matter how fast or slow you keep going as long as you do not stop. Confucius teaches us that it does not matter how fast or slow you are moving or if you are moving a step or an inch at a time toward your dream. The most important thing Fugui learned was that he always had to keep moving forward no matter what happened. Confucius teaches that where ever you go and whatever you do you need to do it with all of your heart. After Fugui joined the theater troupe and enlisted in the army, Jiahen came back to Fugui to give him a second chance. When Fugui realized she came back to town he ran as fast as he could to see her. Fugui wanted to tell her that he loves her and wants to build their family again. Fugui realized by doing this he would have to go all-in and make sacrifices. Confucius believed that when you put your heart and soul into what you do, your spirit could move mountains. We can truly see how much Fugui’s heart and soul were all in when Jiahen gave him a second chance. Fugui eventually went off to war in the army and he did everything he could to survive. He made a friend Cheungshe. There is a scene in the movie where Fugui and Cheungshe are talking with another person while sitting on the side of the road watching troops, trucks, and tanks drive by. Cheungshe says if he were able to drive he would die happy. Fugui says, “As for me, I want to live. There is nothing like family.” (30:38) This is one of the times we see in the movie what it means to live. Fugui is still realizing how important family is. He returns home to find that his wife has been delivering water to the townspeople as a means of work to provide. Fugui was very hurt by this and he took over the work for her. Preparation is key to Confucius’s beliefs. This philosophy depends on preparing for your success, and if there is no preparation you are setting yourself up for failure from the start. When Fugui was a peasant living on the streets he came to a realization he needed to make a change in his life.
When he joined the theater troupe he did not know what he was doing at first. It took a lot of time preparing for him to become good at what he did. Confucius quotes” The mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools” Fugui prepared and took care of his puppets to perfect his work. This helped Fugui realize that hard work is required to become successful in life and that greatness does not come easy. Fugui kept the puppets and did shows here and there. He kept them as a memento. We can take this in our daily lives as well. Understanding that preparation is key can help all of us truly understand how hard work pays off in the end. Fugui lost everything and started from nothing and worked hard to change his life and he started getting back little by little. Learning to forgive and forget is one of Confucius’s teaching. When Fugui’s friend Cheungshe accidentally killed his son Jiahen hated Cheungshe for it and blamed him for the majority of his life for killing their son. Cheungshe would stop by the house sometimes and Jiahen would not speak or even look at him. She sometimes would go to another room. One-night Cheungshe came by heartbroken for what he did and tried to give Fugui all the money he had for their forgiveness. Cheungshe thought this is what he must do to repay them for what he did. Jian finally stepped out and told him no and told him that I forgive him. They then invited him in for some food. Confucius teaches that “to be wronged is nothing unless you keep on remembering it.” (goodness). Jian finally realized that she needed to forgive him for herself to move on and live. Confucius spoke a lot about relationships. This could be any kind of relationship, whether it is social relationships between two different people or political relationships between rulers and their subjects. Confucius believed that there was fundamentally a proper way that people need to act toward each other. There are five types of relationships in Confucianism.
In “To Live” we can see three of these types of relationships playing out. There is husband to wife, father to son, and ruler to subject. Let’s look at the father-to-son relationship. We can see throughout the majority of the movie that Fugui’s relationship with his son Youquing has its ups and downs. Confucius believes that each party has a part to play in the relationship and if they both uphold their end; the relationship will work. We can Youquing his son in the movie showing respect to his father. He helps do chores around the house and even helps with running water around for the townspeople. Fugui shows a lot of compassion and love and is also fair and just when it comes to hard things. Young in the movie dumps a bowl of food on top of another boy’s head. He did this because this boy was bullying his sister. When he did this his father yelled at him and told him to apologize. At that time Fugui did not understand why Youquing did what he did. Fugui started to spank Youquing in front of everyone which embarrassed him. Fugui finds out later why Youquing did this to the other boy and apologized to his son. The father and son relationship is about the son showing loyalty to his father and the father is fair and just with everything. The Ruler and Subject relationship are seen when Fugui returns home. Fugui hears about Mr. Longer’s trial. He is the person Fugui gambled everything he owed to. When the revolution happened there were two types of classes Landlords and Ordinary Townspeople. Fugui’s family were ordinary townspeople now since he gambled everything away to Mr. Long’er. The government wanted some of Mr. Long’er mansion and he refused and burnt it down.
This was seen by the government as a counterrevolution. This means Longer was against the revolution. The duty of the subject in this relationship is to obey and be loyal to his ruler no matter what. The ruler’s duty in this relationship is the be a fair and just ruler. The husband-to-wife relationship is seen throughout the whole movie with Fugui and Jiahen’s relationship. In this time a wife was always considered less superior to her husband and should show respect and listen to her husband since women were lower the man in society. Even though the husband in this relationship is over the wife, the husband still needs to show respect for his wife’s authority and be a good role model. We can see this play out in many ways in their relationship. Fugui in the beginning was a bad role model and showed no respect to his wife. He gambled and never listen to her. Fugui then realized he had to change his life around and start to better himself and be a good role model and start showing a lot of respect and listening to Jian. In the movie, we can see many concepts and philosophies. One that was seen was when Fugui and Jiahen wanted to have an arranged marriage with their daughter Fengxiu. For many years and generations parents in China have arranged their children’s marriages by following the principle of “matching doors and windows” where the couple’s compatibility was assessed by their social and economic standings. (ABCNews.) Fengxiu had an arranged marriage with Wan Taxi. Wan works in the factory and is the leader of the factory’s Red Guard. He also is handicapped.
He injured himself at work, and now he walks with a limp on one of his legs. Fugui and Jiahen arranged this marriage the Fengxiu because they that Wan and she would be a great match because they both have handicap issues. Fengxiu can not speak and Wan has a bum leg. Fugui and Jiahen wanted their daughter to get married young because that is a women’s number one goal. China believes as a woman that if you do not get married by the age of 30 that your life is over. Women in China are also called leftover women (Telegraph.) Women in China are called leftover women because women are only seen for one thing to be married young. Parents start to worry if they are going to find a suitable boy for their daughter before their prime is over (telegraph.) A woman is considered in her prime when she is in her early twenties. Everyone says this is when women are the most attractive. Women have always been seen as less than men in China and still are to this day. Fengxiu married Wan and they loved each other a lot. In a lot of marriages that are arranged, the husband and wife do not love each other. In conclusion, from the 1940s to the 1960s which is the period “To Live” is based in there was a lot of controversy between the government and the people. During this time we are shown how hard it was to live during the revolution. Fugui’s family in the movie helped the viewers see that living matters and that no matter what happens you keep ongoing. There are a lot of philosophies and concepts that we can take from this movie and use in our daily lives. “To Live” was a breathtaking, emotional-filled movie. It showed how a family no matter how many tragedies came for one family, kept on choosing to live. Work Cited