Drama Movie

Ondskan Evil Behavior: Conquering the World with Zero Conduct Score

I. Life Mentor It is a blessing for anyone to meet a life coach or a spiritual leader. For artists, they are undoubtedly a source of inspiration and creative motivation; for regular people, they are the pebbles on the road to growth, bringing warmth to guide the direction in the mist. The Italian director Bertolucci used Godard as a criterion to classify his own works, and what kept him in mind was a note that Godard once slipped him, expressing his dissatisfaction with his work. Speaking again decades later, the high-minded indignation of those years has become the regret of today. Bertolucci was so eager to get Godard’s approval that he ignored the fact that the most sincere advice doesn’t even sound good. Kant’s influence on Beethoven was more of a purely spiritual one. Studying Kant’s treatises in his university days allowed him to form his own artistic and world view. When suffering from ear disease in his middle age, he learned to forget his misfortune and bury his head in the sand thanks to Kant’s philosophical outlook. After his deafness, Beethoven talked to his friends with a pen and wrote: “The moral law in our hearts, the stars above our heads. Kant!” There is always a limit to what the flesh can reach, and art is the best proof that the spirit transcends the mortal flesh again and again. It is the suffering of the flesh that permeates their works with the power to penetrate life. These are great stories that could be written in books.

For most people, the “life mentors” they meet are mostly good teachers and friends, who may not be perfect and have human weaknesses, but over their shoulders you can see a new path. Just like Toto met the cinema projectionist Alfreddo, Charlie met Lt. Col. Frank Slade – Toto fell in love with that heavenly cinema, and continued to study under the encouragement of Alfreddo, and returned to Rome, which has twenty years later, as a director, Toto returned to his hometown to catch up. Frank is a blind man immersed in alcohol and memories of a desperate man, but he also supported Charlie to take the right path in life. Everyone hopes that when in trouble, someone will come forward to set aside the sinister illusion and tell them that the path they follow is heaven. As in the myth of Perseus, with Athena’s shield and advice, the god of the underworld Hades’ invisible cap, Hermes’ flying shoes, he was able to successfully cut off Medusa’s head, and successfully escape, building a legend. However, after all, life is different from the movie, as Alfredo told Toto: “reality is much tougher.”

If these people, legends, books, life’s mentors and friends, you have not met, how to face difficulties, to take a decisive step, and can be convinced to go on?

Erik Ponti in the Swedish film “Bad Deeds” (Ondskan 2003) is such a person who struggles to grow up on his own. When the naughty, rebellious and innocent childhood is long gone, the unfinished schooling makes him unable to get a place in the society with his strength. In a very patriarchal household, no one could stop the stepfather from beating the mother and son, something that seemed to have become commonplace over the last hundred years. If some fathers can call this “loving education,” Eric’s stepfather is pure enjoyment of power and violence, the table carelessly dropped utensils, can become a meal of flesh and blood, followed by the daily meal after the stepfather used to eliminate the food and muscle to live the beatings. Youth for Eric is not just the word “rebellion” can simply cover, he lives in the violence and repression, fist is the only weapon he knows. The power of his stepfather hitting him, he then hit out a little, which allows him to balance between normal and crazy. However, unlike his stepfather’s unquestionable authority at home, Eric was not the center of power at school, but at best an average student whose beatings of classmates were classified as bad conduct, and the principal used the term “bad behavior” to expel him from school, threatening that no public school would want him. So, his mother sold her finances to pay for him to attend a private school, giving him one last chance to go to college and choose his own life. The price was that he could no longer fight and had to be disciplined and graduate in peace.

II. The world of hierarchy Each school has its own traditions and styles. For example, someone once wrote that in Cambridge, England, whenever it comes to dining, students have to stand and wait for teachers to be seated before they can take their seats. It is a form of etiquette and contains the stigma of hierarchy.

The private school Erik attends is located in an elegant, quiet suburb far from Stockholm. Everyone who passes through here finds the students well-mannered and get along well with each other. The student body president Otto Shihan’s enthusiastic introduction made a good impression on Erik, who was new to the school. At dinner, when all the students gathered together, Eric was exposed to the real side of the school: at dinner, students were sitting together regardless of their grades, and what really divided them was a strict class relationship. Aristocrats are the highest class of students, the rest are classified according to the degree of family wealth, as for those who do not have money, simply can not afford to go here. Teachers generally do not intervene in the management of student discipline during meals, are managed by a table leader and a deputy table leader, the punishment may be a hard knock on the head with any kind of cutlery, or a time to stand, or be canceled weekend leave to clean the school. Usually, it is the student council president, John Shi, and a few of his deputies who manage the student order. Not only is there a strict hierarchy among the students, but even the history teacher teaches the students in class how to judge a person’s high or low rank based on his or her appearance. In this way, it doesn’t seem so surprising when it is known that the school forbids students from talking to restaurant waiters. In private, students like to discuss among themselves, not current events and anecdotes, but the political leanings of other students’ parents and even teachers.

Many students, especially freshmen, resent the school’s practice of having a small group of people enjoy supreme authority. But there is nothing they can do to resist, so they are punished. The social status of the family is inherited from the parents at birth and cannot be changed through ordinary efforts. They can only grit their teeth and survive the freshman period, and maybe in two years they will gloat over the punishment of the freshmen, just like everyone else.

The fighting ring in front of the school was the only place where freshmen could fight back against upperclassmen, but those called there usually only ended up being rounded up by more than one person, and there was no fairness to be found. And the most toothsome part is that all the students on the sidelines cheer and raise their arms to cheer on the beaters. Inside and outside this small circle, they are in different positions and change their identities and mindsets. When they are beaten, they are always full of anger, hoping to end it quickly; when they watch, they all participate in the role of beating, hoping that they will hit harder and shed more blood. They fear authority from the bottom of their hearts, yet they enjoy the thrill of conquest that authority brings. Including the president of the student council, all of them are grown from the new growth of being bullied. They endure humiliation in order to one day stand in that position of bravado and take out all their anger on others. That said, it is a disgraceful revenge mentality, a villainous approach that runs counter to the old Chinese adage, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But in the unique environment created by the school, this has become their way of life. The fundamental reason for this is that the school encourages them to do so. They are taught from an early age to appreciate the power of authority and hierarchy, because in society it’s just another, bigger circle of hierarchy. You have to keep climbing up the ladder to avoid always being stepped on.

With Eric’s personality, he was not destined to fit in with the school environment. Although he had learned the school rules as quickly as possible and followed them, he still ran afoul of the center of authority in the student circle time and time again – the student council headed by the student body president Otto Shihan. The average person is scared just by the sight of Shihan, but Eric does not take him seriously, insisting on a no-apology, no-compliance attitude, and even more so, ignoring their unreasonable demands. His unruly personality and youthful exuberance led him into an unpredictable and dangerous contest between himself and the student council. Eric’s fearlessness makes Shihan and the others feel deeply threatened. Hiding behind their authority, they take off the shame of their status and are just a few gutless brats. When status does not intimidate a person, then John has to find ways to make Eric learn to be afraid. So he called him a cowardly “rat”, increased the length of his leave ban, made him do futile work, and entered the bedroom in the early hours of the morning to sneak up on him. Eric has been ignored, can do what can be done, but also never softened, let them do their bullying, but take the opportunity to subtly counteract.

The first culmination of the intertwining of the two is when Eric successfully fights back against Squire for the first time and then mocks him at the dinner table. His recklessness seriously threatens John’s authority and pushes him to the end of his rope, where violence becomes the most direct means of consolidating authority – John hits Eric in front of the whole class, and Eric lets him swing his fists with his back to his face, blood flying everywhere. All the students stopped and watched in silence, and no one applauded. In their familiar rules, violence is an amusement that exists in the arena, the more pain the better. When this violence came to the table, it inadvertently broke a rule and shattered their mindset of watching from the other side. The raining fists seemed to hit everyone’s face, making them realize that they are just people who are seeking survival under such violence. The fighting arena is not a place for them to seek justice, but only a stage for authority to show off their power. The essence of all violence is the same, regardless of time and place. Finally, what ends it all is a shout from Maria, the restaurant waitress. She comes from Finland, where there is no room for such power-bullying of the weak. But it was not over yet. The climax of the incident was the appearance of the principal. He came around the corner from the cafeteria and looked at the red-eyed Shihan and the almost delirious Erik with a calm look on his face, seemingly no stranger to such scenes, and simply instructed briefly, “That’s enough.” Thus was the end of the unexpectedly violent bloodshed, and no one needed to think about it or discuss it anymore. The principal’s attitude sends a message: behind closed doors, hit people all you want, but in public you should be more restrained; after all, we are a school of manners. This is very similar in nature to what Eric’s stepfather did in his beatings. Every time he beat Eric, he had to go into the bedroom and close the door. It was as if once the door was closed, it became a private matter that no one else could interfere with. Nonetheless, etiquette is still to be observed, the appearance of a gentleman is still to be made, but in the personal kingdom, they still have the power of life and death. In that world, manners have nothing to do with morality.

Third, zero points for conduct.The movie is cold and depressing from the beginning to the end, and as the story climaxes and turns, the audience’s emotions also rise and fall. The director uses the battle between Eric and John to push the plot forward, but what deeply touches everyone is Eric’s own struggle. What should he do? How can he protect himself, his dignity, his friends and his loved ones without getting into a fight or being fired? He tried confrontation, he tried compromise, he also used brilliant ideas to make them have a hard time, he even resisted the pressure to win the swimming competition. Unfortunately, none of his efforts were reflected in his conduct score, which was always on the edge of the passing grade. When he changed schools and followed the rules, he was still considered to be of bad character and poor conduct.

Conduct is supposed to be the yardstick for evaluating a student’s character. But it is difficult to have specific written standards for character, after all, the complexity of a person cannot be assessed by a few scores. This school, however, directly links conduct to the level of obedience to seniors, which is in line with the school’s usual style of evaluating people from their family backgrounds. For example, Eric’s good friend Pierre Tanguy, who was the smartest student in the school and was also generous and humble, was ridiculed by his classmates and even treated as a typical example of an inferior race by his history teacher.

Regarding the school’s approach to student conduct evaluation, many directors expressed their attitudes through the camera. French director Jean Vigo obviously advocates loving children’s naughty and playful nature, and not to restrict and criticize too much, which hinders their creativity and normal growth. In his film “Zéro de conduite” (1933), children living in an elementary school boarding school are controlled by the school superintendent, who tries to keep the playful students in line, but is repeatedly thwarted by a group of energetic children who play with them. The only thing he could do was to give them a zero for their conduct, cancel their vacations, and use punishment as the only means of education. A few kids refused to give up and took advantage of the school day to take over the school by climbing on the roof. From the beginning to the end of the film, the film exudes a lively and witty childishness, infinite energy, infinite creativity, and nothing is impossible for them. Through this film, we can see that the director wants to break through the traditional and old-fashioned education system and build a better paradise from the perspective of children.

If “Zero for Conduct” is a light-hearted look at the conflict between youth and the corrupt system, British director Lindsay Anderson angrily attacks the unreasonable school system in “If 1968”. The school system is unreasonable. The principal says he wants to train a new generation of young talent, but he still uses the traditional standard of education of English gentlemen. The new and weaker students are always bullied, and the old-fashioned, dull and flattering people prevail. Tradition is prevalent here, and even the supervisors have a special way of whipping students, dressed in neat suits and wielding the whip with grace and without mercy to new students. The coldness inside contrasts sharply with the hypocrisy on the outside. A few students, led by Chavez, like the kids in “Zero for Conduct,” also take over the school, only instead of just climbing onto the roof, they take up machine guns and shoot at the crowd. The final shot is of Chavez’s angry face under fire. Who made the face that should be cheerful and seeking knowledge, full of hate? The heart that should be grateful but points to death? The story is fabricated, the movie is fictional, everything is a well-written farce under the name “what if”. But the anger is real, the accusations are solid. The situation cannot wait until it is irreversible to learn from the pain.

In the “evil deeds”, anyone can see that the excellent conduct of the Shihan is actually a cowardly, cowardly, subservient villain. Eric, on the other hand, although not a talker and very good at fighting, never bullies the weak, but loves to bring up people to do justice. The standards of school conduct are exactly the opposite of the standards of morality in society. It can be said that it is the school’s perverse education that wipes out people like Erik who are righteous and creates countless snobbish, cold-hearted people like Shihan. The teacher who teaches nature class does not understand the inner workings of the school, and he blames Eric for not protecting his friend, forcing Pierre to drop out. That is, even within the pandemonium atmosphere of this school, there are people who harbor a sense of morality and judgment that ordinary people should have, only he does not know the situation. Just as many people in society are unaware of this phenomenon. So, just because the majority is wrong, it is not possible not to insist on the right choice for the minority. Eric fought with silence, fought back with violence, tried all kinds of ways to persist, and in one failure and trial, he finally understood how to give a powerful blow to the other side when he was unharmed, and understood how to stop living in the shadow of his stepfather.

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