Director Song Chong: Nowadays, most children’s films are "pseudo-children’s films".

  In 1988, a "charged child" surprised the childhood of a generation of teenagers. Beibei wearing red gloves can control traffic lights, ring the bell ahead of time, and "climb relatives" with aliens. This kind and interesting image of children has become a classic on China’s movie screen, and the imaginative imagination has also made up for the lack of technology. At that time, Hollywood had spent $30 million to make E.T., which was popular all over the world, while the children’s film studio spent 470,000 RMB to shoot a children’s science fiction film that has been ranked as the "best" series in many people’s minds.

  Poster of "Babe from Thunderbolt"

  Song Chong, the director of Babe from the Thunderbolt, has made many children’s films. Before Babe was born, a "Flash Ball" was also loved by teenagers at that time. It was also because of this film that Yu Lan, the founder and old filmmaker of children’s shadow at that time, came to Shanghai to "dig" him to Beijing. In the 1990s, Song Chong’s "San Mao Save the Orphan" almost saved Anhui Film Studio, which was under heavy pressure of benefits.

  Song Chong commented on the significance of "Babe from the Box" in his creative career. "It enriched my creative experience and self-confidence in creating children’s films and science fiction films, and learned the characteristics of children’s actors and the viewing psychology of children’s audiences."

  For more than ten years after his retirement, Song Chong taught in a college specializing in film and television, and often talked about the experience of filming Babe from the Thunderbolt. From the post-80s to the post-90s, students all loved Beibei from the Thunderbolt, which made Song Chong very pleased. "The audience is God, and how happy it is to be concerned and loved by God. In class, students will applaud and cheer as soon as they hear that I am the director of Babe from the Thunderbolt. I am intoxicated when I am close to my students. "

  Song Chong

  Starting from the curiosity about "aliens" and "aliens"

  Thirty years later, I talked to Song Chong about the whole story of the filming of Babe from the Thunderbolt, and he still remembered it vividly.

  Recalling the original intention of filming, Song Chong said that the inspiration of Beibei’s story was "special functions". At that time, the Ministry of Space was studying various magical special functions, and the "Human Body Research Institute" in the film did indeed happen. In the early years, Song Chong once filmed a documentary about aliens in the North Film Factory, and invited people with special functions from all over the country to perform. Some people can read with their ears and others can read with their palms. "There are some things you can’t understand." However, this documentary is only used as an internal reference and has not been made public, because things that cannot be explained are easily classified as feudal superstitions or used by some lawless elements to cause fraud.

  Screenshot of "Beibei"

  Zhang Zhilu, the screenwriter of the film, used to be a physics teacher. There was a lot of physics knowledge in writing "charged children", but Song Chong didn’t think it was magical enough. At that time, "E.T." was popular all over the world, and the whole world was curious about alien life, so elements such as flying saucers and aliens were added to the film to increase the freshness of the film.

  And these elements mean that the film is much more difficult to make. I used to be a director, as long as I thought about how to tell a good story and grasp the actor’s performance. The filming of "Babe from the Thunderbolt" is full of various design agencies and careful thoughts.

  "In fact, we shot this film very sparingly. We used the best special effects team in the studio at that time, and some of them used special effects animation, such as reversing the film of water, or using superimposed secondary exposure, first shooting the hospital, then shooting the flying saucer, and overlapping synthesis. There are also VIA lenses that some people fly, but at that time, the imaging technology was not mature, and it was necessary to avoid hiding by methods such as backlighting. "

  Stills of Babe from Thunderbolt

  In addition, the crew made a three-meter-diameter flying saucer with reference to E.T., hollowed out several holes, put lights in it, and lifted it with a crane to move it. This was the "big production" lens at that time.

  At that time, the film’s artist was Feng Xiaoning, the director who later filmed "The Atmosphere Disappeared" and "Purple Day". He designed a jumpsuit for the image of aliens and bought thousands of sequins. At that time, Liu Jia, an actor who was in love with Feng Xiaoning, sewed the sequins up by hand with the date time. "The clothes are too expensive, and Feng Xiaoning is afraid of being worn out by others, so he wears them himself and plays the alien." Song Chong told us a little behind-the-scenes gossip.

  At that time, for the choice of scenes, I also considered making a comparison. "The scenes of life were the best and most modern at that time, so the scenes of home and school were taken in Shenzhen. At that time, the modernization of Shenzhen was far ahead of the country. However, some sci-fi scenes, such as the appearance of flying saucers and the sight of the blind, chose some ancient cultures, such as the Great Wall and the Forest of Steles. "

  The sense of "magic" in "Babe from the Thunderbolt" has also continued into the creation after Song Chong. When filming San Mao’s Saving the Orphan, Song Chong made the hair on San Mao’s head stand on end, which also benefited from the previous accumulation. Song Chong has been very good at designing these small organs. "At that time, the gears in the toy car were put under three hairs, and then the three hairs could stand up separately by remote control. Children feel particularly novel when they read it. "

  Choosing actors depends on "bragging"

  Song Chong often tells the students the story of choosing actors in Babe from the Thunderbolt, which is full of fun. In those years of filming children’s films, he found some "unique skills" of good young people.

  Thousands of children came to the audition of "Babe from Thunderbolt". These children came from the Children’s Palace all over the country, and their talents were equal. Song Chong gave them a question, let the child "brag" and asked him "How did you come?" Ask to answer with imagination, the bigger the cowhide, the better. "Some children say that I came by car and I came by plane, so there is no imagination. Some people said that I came by broom and I came by UFO, which was more fun. I continued to let him make it up. There are also people who come by donkey, and I say ‘ Then go back by donkey ’ 。”

  Only a few hundred children were left in this round of screening, and Song Chong made them brag, "What did you eat today?" Some children say "eat monsters" and "eat stars", while others say "eat rice in soup". Song Chong said, "Then go home and eat rice in soup."

  "Bragging is the performance of small actors to show their reading, knowledge and imagination." Song Chong said that, therefore, some good children who seriously said that "the teacher said that good children can’t lie", Song Chong also thought that they were not necessarily suitable for being actors.

  After blowing the cow, there were dozens of children left, and Song Chong used it as a game to observe the children’s character, reaction and courage. Finally, when there are only a dozen children left, the roles are assigned. Then give these children acting class training and train them to do sketches.

  "Children’s sketches can also see imagination, and at that time they were given a prescribed situation — — It’s very hot. You are doing your homework in your room and a fly flies in. As a result, the child slapped me in the face in order to hit the fly. It’s also fun to think about it. " Song Chong ha ha smiled and recalled the situation.

  "Thunderbolt Beibei" stills performance

  Beibei’s little boy, Zhang Jing, was the champion of the national story king in that year. When it comes to the excavation of this child, Song Chong said that it was determined that it was not necessary to find a very good-looking child at that time, but it was necessary to have characteristics. "Zhang Jingtou is big and looks like a child with special functions."

  When filming a group scene with many children, Song Chong recalled that his head would explode when he came home from work every day, because the children were so noisy. But Song Chong still likes to pick naughty children.

  In 1982, Song Chong filmed "The Flashing Balls", and more than 30 children from a class took it to Ningbo to shoot. Only Song Chong could control the most naughty hero, so Song Chongdu slept with him even at night. In the days of the children’s studio, Song Chong learned to take care of the children, and he was gentle and stern. "When I went to the mountains of Ningbo, the children were full of desire to play, so I simply took a two-hour holiday and let the children pick flowers. Give them flowers when they come back, and they are not interested. You have to satisfy their excitement first, and you can’t control it. "

  There is also an episode about this film. Wu Yigong, the director of "Old Things in the South of the City", was very proud of his choice of Eiko’s actor Jie Shen, who was picked by Song Chong at that time. Speaking of this past, Song Chong still regrets. "It’s not that I didn’t pick her. I knew at a glance that this little girl was too good, but we don’t allow parents to follow more than 30 children in a class. The parents of this child have to follow, and the parents of the whole class have to follow. I can’t make an exception for her." Song Chong is a director who pays attention to "rules".

  Song Chong himself said that he was very stubborn when he was a child. When his former classmates saw the children’s films, they said, "It was Song Chong when he was a child.". "You have to have a child’s life. At present, some lesbians can’t shoot children’s films well. They choose actors who like beautiful cream, and they like to follow the rules and behave. " Song Chong said, "My theory of making children’s films is that the director of children’s films must be a stubborn child ‘ Grand king of the children ’ 。”

  Stills of Babe from Thunderbolt

  Children’s films are made for children

  Of course, Babe from the Thunderbolt also has its limitations of the times. Today, it seems that the choice of making Babe completely an ordinary child can be integrated into the collective has something to do with the social values that emphasized the collectivity and generality at that time and did not advocate individuality. Song Chong revealed that in fact, many children wrote to ask why Beibei should lose the ability to be charged. "They said that a switch should be installed on Beibei." But at that time, the creators thought that the film finally hoped to solve the problem of children’s loneliness and return to normal. "Even if heterogeneous can integrate into the collective, loneliness seems to be unable to be solved. Many literary works do this, and in order to return to the ordinary, they would rather lose it. "

  I wonder if such a regret will be made up in the future. In 2015, there was news that a sequel to "Babe from the Thunderbolt" was set up on the website of Radio and Television, and the director was Zhang Zhilu, the screenwriter of the film at that time.

  According to the synopsis, this movie called "The Return of Babe from Thunderbolt" is no longer a story about Beibei’s childhood, but Beibei has become a young man, and his super power awakens to punish evil and promote good.

  Song Chong revealed that in recent years, many people came to make a sequel, but he refused to participate. "First, because it is difficult to surpass it, I have never thought about which way to break through the original (work). If you want to shoot, you must break through. Now it must be done without pleasing. And this movie is still on TV every year. " For Song Chong, it is enough to shoot Babe from the Thunderbolt once.

  Undeniably, 30 years later, there are still many people who miss children’s films such as Babe from the Thunderbolt, Ding Dong of Springs, the disappearance of the atmosphere and Little Bells, because today’s "children’s films" are really declining, and basically they can only choose cartoons.

  Song Chong introduced that children’s films were once the product of China’s practice of "socialist superiority". In the past, there were children’s film studios in the Soviet Union, and then China’s children’s film studio became the only one in the world. At one time, Children’s Shadow was an "award-winning professional household", which not only won numerous awards at home and abroad, but also produced six films with production indicators every year, which was also "not enough at all".

  Stills of Babe from Thunderbolt

  By the end of 1990s, eight companies, including the Children’s Film Factory and the North Film Factory, had merged to form China Film Group Corporation. All employees of the Children’s Film Factory were scattered and assigned to various departments of the China Film Group, and the production tasks of the Children’s Film Factory were transferred to the third production company under the group. In 2005, on the basis of the third production company, China Film Animation Industry Co., Ltd. was formally established, specializing in animation production. The children’s film studio, which has been mainly producing children’s feature films, only has the golden signboard of "China Children’s Film Studio", which still occasionally appears in the public eye as a production unit, and the production of children’s films has been promoted from "plan" to "market".

  "In the past, it was the head of the film, and it was distributed. Later, it was reversed and distributed as the head." Song Chong believes that children’s films actually have a huge market, but they have not been paid attention to and in an appropriate way.

  For example, unlike adults, children can choose their own movies. Many times, the content they watch needs to be screened by schools and parents. In the past, the way schools organized movies was actually suitable for the distribution of children’s films. Nowadays, because of the emphasis on learning and safety, schools organize fewer and fewer activities to go out to watch movies and even spring outing.

  In addition, the "source" of creation has not been taken seriously. "In the past, we made a plan called ‘ Golden apple orchard ’ , is to treat writers as ‘ Golden apple tree ’ , a shake is a ‘ Golden apple ’ . At that time, I told writers that as long as you come to Beijing, I will entertain you. I will satisfy you with whatever writing conditions you need, provided that you write a book for me. " Therefore, at that time, there were many writers who wrote plays for Er Ying, even if they didn’t specialize in children’s literature creation.

  Song Chong, a former director of the Children’s Film Factory, will still receive some invitations for help or suggestions in recent years. Some film and television companies say they want to make "children’s films", but in Song Chong, there are very few films actually made for children. Most of the films are just "pseudo-children’s films" with children as the leading role.

  In Song Chong’s view, in the early years, some revolutionary movies, such as radish head, sent information in various prisons. "In fact, this film is not suitable for children, and children feel horrible after watching it. This is not a good children’s film. Some films talk about family divorce, and children are worried about their parents’ divorce. This is not a good children’s film. "

  In recent years, many literary films, with children as the leading role, have relieved adults’ feelings and even criticized them from the perspective of children, such as August, Carnival, Home in a lush place, etc. These films have their own artistic value, but children can’t get the pleasure of watching movies from them.

  Zhou Quan, the director of Summer on the West River, expressed his nostalgia for childhood memories and hometown through movies. Zhang Dalei, the director of August, once expressed that the little boy in the film paid tribute to his parents from the perspective of "intruders"; Huo Meng, director of the Chinese-language film Guo Zhaoguan, which won many awards at Pingyao Film Festival, told The Paper that children were chosen as the leading role, because children can convey the director’s vision of things more purely and carry the theme of life and death thinking in the film in a more contrasting way.

  In addition to the above-mentioned "pseudo-children’s films" which are too "author-oriented", Song Chong told The Paper that because the state has always given subsidies ranging from 500,000 to 1 million for filming children’s films, many filmmakers chose to add children’s perspectives to the subsidies, and finally they became "pseudo-children’s films" which are neither fish nor fowl.

  "We have specially discussed a standard before. A children’s film must meet three points. A play for children, with children as the protagonist, and children love to see and hear, can be regarded as a real children’s film."