Do schools have a duty to take students to watch ‘The Battle at Lake Changjin,’ a war epic with second highest annual box office?
Published: Oct 20, 2021 05:39 PM
Chinese war epic The Battle at Lake Changjin surpassed the 5 billion yuan ($ 782 million) mark at the Chinese mainland box office on Tuesday, its 20th day of screening, allowing it to overtake the sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth to rank as the fourth highest-earning film in Chinese box-office history. It is currently the second highest-earning film of 2021 at the global box-office, according to Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan. 

Promotion material for The Battle at Lake Changjin Photo: Courtesy of Maoyan

Promotion material for The Battle at Lake Changjin Photo: Courtesy of Maoyan

Amid the strong patriotic sentiment among Chinese moviegoers, some netizens in Zigong, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, on Monday suggested that local schools should organize trips for students to watch the film in theaters.

On Tuesday, the Education and Sports Bureau in Zigong replied that The Battle at Lake Changjin is indeed a good film for patriotic education, but the suggestion  still needs to be evaluated if the film is suitable for minors as it contains scenes of fierce battles, injuries and death.

"I don't think The Battle at Lake Changjin is appropriate for elementary school students. Minors of different ages, characteristics and psychological mindsets can have different reactions to the film. The Battle at Lake Changjin cannot be seen as a pure educational film as students are not its target audience. Some bloody and cruel scenes could be uncomfortable for them and pose the risk of leading to a stress disorder," Wang Ying, a psychologist with the Beijing Reading the Heart Psychological Health and Technology Company, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Huang Dexin, a psychologist at a high school in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, told the Global Times on Wednesday that elementary and middle school students are still at a stage when they are developing their personalities and often confuse reality and fiction.

She recommends that students watch the film with the company and guidance of adults such as their parents and teachers. Holding a discussion after the screening could help them absorb the positive aspects of the film and help them view it through a realistic lens.

According to the reply, schools in Zigong have already started to organize activities such as watching films and documentaries marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and the local government will also recommend patriotic education films that are appropriate for students at schools.

The suggestion of implementing a rating system for films has been voiced on social media for a long time. According to Huang, a rating system could help schools and parents select the films that are suitable for certain age groups and thereby better protect these groups' mental health.

The Battle at Lake Changjin  tells the story of how Chinese People's Volunteers (CPVs) soldiers held their ground amid fierce cold and the enemy's more advanced weapons during the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53).