A chronicle of three weeks in the lives of several high school teachers, administrators and students through the eyes of substitute teacher, Henry Barthes. Henry roams from school to school, imparting modes of knowledge, but never staying long enough to form any semblance of sentient attachment.
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The Pink Detachment is an update of “The Red Detachment of Women” (1964), a Model Opera from China’s Cultural Revolution. Here the protagonists are an accident-prone worker and a ballerina-manager who has the tools to alleviate the worker’s problems. At the center of the piece is the color equation, Red + White = Pink, from which multiple parallel meanings emerge. The first is the old term “pinko,” meaning a watered down Communism, or a liberal with uncommitted Red sympathies. The second is a proposal to solve future crises in meat supply by re-valuating hot dog and sausage production as a solution, by integrating ‘undesirable’ portions of pig with the ‘desirable’ portions, embodying perfect equivalence in consumable form. And the third is pink as femininity – not as a ‘natural’ fleshy softness, but rather a synthetic, engineered (and potentially violent) hybridity.
A Partisan unit goes into battle with the enemy twice stronger, somehow resists detachment to attack deep into the night, where the fraud are captured combatants from all units and thrown to the terrible torture and eventually murder.
Adapted from the earlier film of the same title, The Red Detachment of Women is a Chinese ballet which premiered in 1964 and was one of the Eight Model Operas which dominated the national stage during the Cultural Revolution. It is best known in the West as the ballet performed for U.S. President Richard Nixon on his visit to China in February 1972.
Qiong Hua is a slave girl of Nan Batian, a big landlord in Yelinzhai Village on Hainan Island. She has tried many times but cannot escape from the landlord's cruel oppression. Later, Nan Batian jails her in a water dungeon. Hong Changqing is the Party representative of a red detachment of women. He disguises himself as a wealthy businessman residing abroad and comes to her rescue. He pretends to buy Qiong Hua to be his slave, saves her from the abyss of sufferings, and instructs her to join the red detachment of women. At the outset, Qiong Hua joins the revolutionary rank to settle her personal grudge. Educated by Hong Changqing, she becomes a conscientious revolutionary fighter.
The Trubachyov's pioneers detachment is stuck in the occupied territories during WWII. The children are trying to fight the enemy...