To Shiny No. 5 「手機」 the TV series
I’m sure you have watched the TV series 「手機」. It was played last year in China. Here, the Phoenix Channel and the Cable TV channel have started playing the series a while ago, and they’re still going at it. For the last month or so, I’ve been stuck watching it every day. Then one day last week, after the school final exam was done, I accidentally found out at Sohu TV that the whole series was there ready to be watched for free. So I’ve spent two full days watching it day and night and got it out of my system. It’s one of the best TV series I’ve ever seen.
The acting in this series is head-and-shoulders beyond that of the Hong Kong TV series. I haven’t for quite a long while seen such a big group of actors who act so brilliantly—they act by rarely showing the acting. So for most scenes, the audience had the illusion of watching dramas playing out in real life. In this respect, 范明, who acts as 嚴守禮 the 黑磚頭, 柏青, who acts as 奶奶, 柏寒, who acts as the mother of 于文娟, and 馬蘭, who acts as the wife of 黑磚頭, are the most brilliant. After watching several episodes, I started to wonder how the director could have found such a bunch of talents from everyday folks, as they didn’t look like actors at all. It was much later when I went online and looked up the information of these actors did I find they were actually seasoned actors. They were either 國家一級演員 or 國家二級演員. I don’t know how the classification is made, but obviously they are professional actors, not common folks picked on the street. Acting that shows no acting at all is acting at the highest level.
The city of Beijing that is shown in the series is alluring. It’s modern and modernized. It’s quite different from the Beijing I knew some sixteen, seventeen years ago. I’ve been to the city several times during the period when I had the ceramics factory at Tangshan. Beijing is a big city, but I’ve been able to walk around the city center then. Now it seems everybody is driving. The lifestyle shown of the city in the show is very much like that of many modern cities in the West. One could, for example, drive from Beijing to 嚴家莊, probably at the outskirt of Loyang at Honan, on a whim. I went to look up the distance on my world map on the wall and it’s quite a way. But it seems that’s part of the lifestyle now of many Beijingers, and thus many Chinese in many big cities in general.
Then there’s the title 「老師」. It seems this title or term is now used rather loosely in China, not just for referring to someone who teaches. It’s now more like a courtesy title to refer to someone with respect.