Talking About Apple’s Chinese New Year Film, 2021
A mystery has been passing by generations, the story of Nian, no exceptionally I heard and read about Nian many many times. Surprisingly, the tale I was told, wasn’t by my parents or any other relatives. It was from books and TVs the story made it memorable and understandable.
I guess Apple now has the tradition to create a feature film for the Chinese New Year, this year, the simple tale of Nian, has been extraordinarily made into a thought-provoking movie. Of course, the sound, music, and edits were fabulously done, but I cannot help to reflect on the messages that the film delivers.
An innocent child is always full of creative imaginations, the ability to wonder was a gift until an grown adult often confined in their subjectivity (see the father used his authority in the conversations: “It just is”), a subject who is defined by for example, “there is no Nian,” “I am doing this to protect.” That normalize your abstract thinking. How ironic, if you think about many of the scientific findings actually came from our abstract thinking.)
The adventures children set on by themselves, either like the protagonist (the girl) who went to the forest in searching of Nian, or any kind of “bold moves” we did when we were still childish disseminating the idea of being adventurous, because before we become “Sophisticated” we were as a child basically can do whatever we want and think whatever we can imagine. However, when it comes to adulthood, like the father’s worry, the idea of being a wanderer is somehow normalized by an adult’s view of world. You may want to associate the reasons with social norms or whatever, that somehow you are no longer convinced by tales, sadly in another word, being able to wonder. Meanwhile, an adult is comfortably enjoying the safe zone in his or her chasing, which the father calls it — Protection. Said by the father: “Are we wrong for wanting to protect her…I am afraid this village has never been able to contain her…she won’t have us by her side.”
When the girl brought Nian to join the village gathering, Nian ran away because of the fireworks. The father and mother found the the girl and try bring her back home, the girl acted like she is a monster. Sadly to say, this is real that in a society when it is seeing a outstanding soul, a novel idea, an adventurous mind, the crowds feel threatened and yet the person to be treated like a monster because he/she is so different. The conflict between normality and adventure strikes as the scenes proved.
This is what I think the core of the film where the conflict get clearer by the mother denoting “But what are you trying to protect her from…what are you afraid of.” Also the girl escaped from the window. The scenes were exactly portraying the idea of being adventurous gets normalized as the social contexts(or whatever) is telling “you are safe here.” Ended m by the mother saying” but maybe we can learn from her courage.”And the family went to the forest for Nian altogether, beautifully presents the message that don’t forget to wonder, as it always should be valued in every stage of our lives.
(Quotes and Text Source: Apple “Shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max Chinese New Year-Nian”
Inspiration of Thesis: “World Literature, Modern Japanese Literature” A class taught by Professor Astrid Lac at Yonsei University. )
Note: this is more like a long post than an essay. Please bear with my mistakes or opinions that doesn’t make sense at all :)
Thanks for reading.