The Hong Kong tale of school bullying vying for an Oscar
By David Villafranca
Los Angeles, USA, Apr 16 (EFE).- Director Derek Tsang’s Better Days is a powerful cinematic study on the impact of high school bullying on adolescents and the role adults play in failing to stop it.
In an interview with Efe, Tsang talked about what prompted him to focus on the topic.
“It wasn’t really until smartphones and social media platforms became popular that I came into contact with this abundance of videos of kids just doing very brutal things to each other,” he said.
“It really shocked me, it really intrigued me as to how kids are able to do that to each other.”
The work from the Hong Kong director will compete for the Best International Feature at the Academy Awards later this month against Quo Vadis, Aida?, from Bosnia and Herzegovina; Collective, from Romania; The Man Who Sold His Skin, from Tunisia and Another Round, from Denmark, which is hotly tipped to win.
Better Days heads to the red carpet at the Academy Awards after proving a huge hit in the Chinese market, where it took more than $222 million at the box office.
Its popularity came thanks, in part, to its young stars — Dongyu Zhou, who plays the viciously bullied Chen Nian and Jackson Yee, who plays Xiao Bei, a street delinquent who forms a relationship with Chen.
Based on the novel In His Youth, In Her Beauty by Jiu Yuexi, Chen Nian struggles to navigate her way through high school as she tries to focus on her university entrance exams while being relentlessly picked on and physically bullied by her classmates.
Her chance encounter with Xiao Bei, who has just been beaten up on the street, changes her fortunes.