Published: May 8th 2012April 13th 2012
Without fail, when asked what their favorite movie is, over half my students, both male and female, will tell me it's Titanic. I saw it back in 1997 when it was first released and I had been impressed; but I had never thought of it as being even close to warrenting the distinction of "favorite." For me, it's a bit sappy, cliche and over-dramatized.
In China, it's a different story. I have students named Jack and students named Rose. When my students write stories, they use lines from the movie. One play last month even had only three characters: Jack, Rose, and Boat. People here are seriously in love with the movie. I don't fully understand it, but I've gathered that it's due to two reasons:
1. Distaster/end of the world movies are quite popular. (2012, which was barely heard of in the US, gets almost as many "favorite" comments as Titanic.)
2. They love the love story. They love the idea of pure love, being in love, someoe willing to do anything for you because they love you. They love the tragedy of it all. The whole thing gives them hope.
When I found out that
The theaters have names rather than numbers.
Titanic was being released in 3D I had the idea that it could be fun to go in a group. At the movie theater we usually go to in the next town over, they offer discount rates if you come in a group. So I asked the speech team (who all speak excellent English) if they wanted to go. They were so excited that they were jumping out of their chairs and I think a few desks got knocked over.
It took a bit of planning but we finally picked a date that didn't conflict with major exams, holidays, or the Canton fair. The theater changed the movie time 3 times in two days. But we met, we hired vans, and ten of us went to the theater. We got our tickets at the discounted rate of 40 RMB (6.34 USD). Some friends of mine went to the theater in Huadu and even with student discounts, they paid more than we did. Because it was a 4:30pm showing, getting good seats was easy. (Actually, in China, you pick your seats when you buy your ticket--it's not general admission.) There were only a few other people going to the show,
so I hoped it would be a quiet audience. While we waited a number of students commented on how they'd be wearing two pairs of glasses. I asked if we could call them "six eyes" and that became the joke of the day.
Titanic in 3D was amazing. I was impressed. Even the talking people behind me didn't deter me from enjoying it. Even the woman on her cell phone didn't ruin it for me. The student sobbing loudly next to me enhanced the experience. When the lights came up I was the only person with dry eyes. Tissues were passed around and we teased each other over who cried the loudest.
We decided we were hungry and walked the kilometer or so down the road to McDonald's. As one student said--as we were munching on our fries--the funniest part of the evening was when one American led nine Chinese people to McDonald's. I had to agree. (In my defense, I was the only one who knew where it was located.) We all got desserts, too, while we waited for our vans to pick us up.
We got back to the school around 10pm. We stood by the gate, laughing and talking, while the students debated which of the male students would walk me home. (Gotta keep the teacher safe!) In the end, they decided the would all
walk me home. We snapped a group photo under a street light. Our smiles were brighter.