Drama Movie

Tillsammans The worst and best of times

Each era has its own color, its own style, but none is so close and yet so far away as the 1960s and 1970s of the 20th century. It was a time of loss and chaos, of destruction and ruin, when many traditions were disintegrated, many virtues were destroyed, and the people who wandered through it were called the Beat Generation. It was the worst of times, but also the best of times, when many beauties broke out of the barren ground and spread to the earth. Standing at this moment, we both criticize that era and sincerely miss it.

The 1960s and 1970s are remembered as a time of confusion and madness, with too many ambiguous terms belonging to that era: the Vietnam War, the Cuban Revolution, the May Storm in Paris, hippie, rock, psychedelic, sexual liberation, bohemian and pop, interspersed with the assassinations of JFK and Dr. King, and the landing of man on the moon. Every young person in that era cried out for civil rights, liberation and freedom, but they knew better than what they wanted, what they didn’t want.

Although it was a time of destruction and chaos, a lost and beaten generation, the great wheel of the times rolled and jumped forward rapidly, driven by their madness. Before this era, black people could not be equal to white people, women could not go in and out with men, and poor people could not call themselves brothers with rich people. But after this era, barriers were broken down, distances were eliminated, and fairness and freedom were implemented. Although we cannot say that the world is perfect, discrimination and oppression are still everywhere, but it is really much better than before.

There are many films depicting that era, and the perspectives are of all kinds. For example, the American film “Forrest Gump” looks at this era of great change through the simple-minded Gump, seeing an unknown Vietnam War, and young people boiling and shouting to get out of the tradition but not knowing where to go. Faced with this era of disintegrating values, a simple man like Forrest Gump can only run desperately on the road, looking for a goal that he does not even know what it is. When Gump runs on the lost road, followed by a large group of people who are also lost, he suddenly awakens to the fact that the answer to life does not lie elsewhere, but in the ordinary but real life.

In “Paris in a Dream”, director Bertolucci cuts his perspective directly into the center of the whirlpool of the times, presenting through the camera the demands and state of the young people in the May storm, conveying a vague but passionate atmosphere, all driven by passion, liberation for the sake of liberation, resistance for the sake of resistance, so that liberation eventually leads to moral collapse, resistance to violent harm. Another more recent French film, “The Hedgehog and the Queen,” takes a child’s eye view of the era in which a group of young people who do not know how to take responsibility for their lives shouted about the right way of life, resulting in the slogan of fairness and equality becoming an excuse for selfishness and laziness, and the declaration of freedom and liberation becoming a pretext for greed and indulgence.

Although the films in this genre have their own perspectives, most of them take a critical stance on the era, describing the people of that era with ambiguous ideas, frenzied excitement and degeneration. In contrast, Swedish director Lukas Moodyson’s “Under One Roof” stands out from the rest. Launched in 2000, “Under One Roof” is a humorous sketch, in which there is no dramatic change of the times, no fierce struggle, but only a group of young people living together in a house, generating jokes and conflicts. However, this work presents the demands of the era, the problems that arose, and the ultimate way out in a light-hearted and tolerant manner.

The story of “Under One Roof” takes place in the mid-1970s in an apartment known as the “Happy Gathering Commune,” which is really just an ordinary apartment, but is inhabited by a group of like-minded young people who believe in communist ideals. They not only share each other’s property and make decisions together, but also do not eat meat, buy TVs, gifts, or religious festivals as a token of their determination to fight capitalism and authoritarianism. For example, one of the women demands sexual liberation, asking her boyfriend and herself to retain the freedom to sleep with others as they please while maintaining a loving relationship. Another woman demanded gender equality, not only advocating that women should grow armpit hair like men, naked like men, but also that women should love women like men. Another man appealed to the revolutionary idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat in a radical and violent way.

Although there are differences in their common beliefs, the group is generally respectful and tolerant of each other, and they seek common ground in their quarrelsome lives. However, when the sister of one of them moves in with a pair of children due to domestic violence, the balance in the commune is gradually broken because of these three people who have “different interests and different ways”, and many conflicts emerge one by one and are magnified. For example, the thirteen-year-old girl who moves in insists on having her own room and privacy, which contradicts the commune’s credo of mutual trust. The growing children’s demands for meat, television, and Christmas also contradict the commune’s anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian ideals.

This conceptual contradiction occurs not only between the original and new residents of the Jubilee Commune, but also, by association, between the original residents of the commune. When the sexually liberated woman climbs into the bed of another man in the commune and carefully describes her feelings afterwards, her boyfriend cannot help but feel a pang of heartache and disgust. When the feminist tries to seduce the abused mother and instill in her the idea of equality between men and women, she finds out that her ex-husband is the biggest beneficiary of the idea – he enjoys sleeping with other men and enjoys the special feeling. When the mother, who has been abused, finally gets the spirit of female independence and kicks her husband out of the house for apologizing, the boyfriend of the sexually liberated woman gives up on the pursuit of “sexual liberation” and decides to follow his true feelings and kicks his girlfriend out of the house.

I don’t know what they want, but they are clearly against everything that exists. They are against capitalism, so they support communism; they are against monogamy, so they support gender liberation; they are against heterosexuality, so they want homosexuality. Although these contents and dialogues are sarcastic and amusing, they also deeply depict the chaotic state and problems faced in the 1960s and 1970s: there was no clear and unified ideology behind the ideals, and they were only based on “opposition to the existing situation”, but the so-called “existing situation “This belief in overthrowing everything regardless of the circumstances naturally led to various contradictions, including those between ideals, between ideals and human nature, and between ideals and reality.

Although this is a time of vague ideals and contradictions, which not only triggers all kinds of political and social conflicts, but also fails to achieve a specific goal in the end, this attitude of life that challenges traditional thinking, pursues equality among people and frees them from unnecessary bondage has a great impact and accelerates the disintegration of various kinds of discrimination, injustice and feudal thinking. In the film’s ending, the staunch anti-capitalists, the radical proletarian revolutionaries, and the sexual liberators who oppose exclusive relationships all choose to move out of the pleasure commune, while those who are willing to respect gender equality and break away from the traditional unequal relationship between husband and wife move in. What emerges is not the arrival of an ideal state, but the process in which ideals, reality, and human nature rub up against each other, toss and turn, and find a balance.

The 1960s and 1970s were such a crazy and strange time, when some young people wore bohemian scarves, smoked marijuana, and lived a mixed life; some took to the streets with sticks, stones, and petrol bombs; and some left society and moved into communes with like-minded people, far from the crowd, where they were self-sufficient and shared everything. In order to fight against capitalism, they must sacrifice their needs and expectations in life; in order to fight for complete sexual liberation, they must sacrifice their human tendency to be devoted to relationships and fidelity to each other; when women deliberately seek feminism or female autonomy in order to fight for gender equality, they may not be able to accept their boyfriends to be feminine or to sleep with other men. When women deliberately seek women’s rights or female autonomy in order to fight for gender equality, they may not be able to accept their boyfriends to be feminine or to sleep with other men; and when they treat people who have different ideas from their own with tolerance, they have to sacrifice their adherence to their ideas and their pursuit.

That failed era of passion has changed the face of life today, and its effects are still festering. Almost all of the leaders of today’s major nations participated in that era, each carrying the scars of their former ideals and sobriety as they stepped up to the halls of power, and what they experienced, learned, believed, and held on to during that era will determine the direction and manner in which the world moves forward in the period ahead. At this moment, we are glad that there was such an era, which laid the foundation for today’s freedom, equality and liberation, but we are also glad that those ideals and cultural revolutions that seriously clashed and contradicted with reality and human nature were not carried out in the Western world, otherwise a ruined generation would have been created instead of a fallen one.

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