This well-acted and well-directed film was promoted as a "model work" by the cultural revolution group within the Chinese Communist Party in 1975, one year before the death of Mao and the reversal of the cultural revolution.
It is a good example of both the orientation guiding the cultural revolution (in this case, how to 'revolutionize' the educational system) as well as how the cultural revolutionaries approached popular culture (e.g. this screenplay and the direction of this film).
In some ways, the film is reminiscent of 'On the Waterfront', but with a decidedly different, and more hopeful, resolution.
A worthwhile feature although rarely shown currently.
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