If you retire at the age-limit, you suddenly have free time for 24 hours. Until yesterday you acknowledged yourself that your presence was critical to run your office in order. Today you have to acknowledge your office can be run without you. Someone has already taken things over and has started to change the way you did. So, what will be your ground from today you live on? This is a serious question every retiree has to face no matter which country you live in.
Life becomes meaningful if you can actually feel you are needed. Mr. Han, who had served a Beijin opera house for decades as a clerical manager is the man who put the greatest value on it.
The movie starts with a scene of the opera performance. Mr. Han squeezes himself inside an incense burner to support its ear; spurs bit-part players. The role of the bit players is no more than to jazz up the stage, but Mr. Han spurs them saying "Run until you die". Mr. Han never lies down even a simplest job such as numbering arrived newspapers. For him everything is an important task. His devotion to his job is beautiful.
But now he is a retiree. He walks in town without purpose, when he accidentally finds some retirees enjoying a Beijin opera in the park. He managed to organize a group of retirees who love to play Beijin operas. Tremendous bureaucratic procedure was not a big burden for Mr. Han to borrow the community center. Mr. Han does his best as the manager of the group.
Each person in the group has particular personality. Most of them simply like to play Beijin operas, but Mr. Han has his joy in taking care of them, and in fact only Mr. Han can do it right. The person who understands this most is Mr. Tsai, the trouble maker in the group.
The storytelling of the movie is fairly simple, however, I think this one has richer implication about the life of retirees than "About Shmidt". I was more deeply empathized in Mr. Han than Mr. Shmidt. Huang Zongluo's performance acting Mr. Han is marvelous.
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