Dec 30, 2010

Dark Matter, 2007

Dark Matter, 2007
Director: Shi-Zheng Chen
Cast: Meryl Streep, Ye Liu, Peng Chi

Stage: Home theatre, TV selection of a random Wednesday evening

Dark Matter in short: Liu Xing is a scholarship boy from China, newly arrived in Salt Lake City, a graduate student in cosmology, in Utah to study in Professor Reiser's prestigious program. Back in China, Liu Xing's parents are proud of him, and he dedicates himself to fulfilling their hopes. All the graduate students in the program work on projects that extend and further Reiser's model of the origins of the universe. Liu Xing does well until his own theories move him away from Reiser's. Will Reiser and the department recognize Liu Xing's brilliance? Can the young man's benefactor, Joanna Silver, intercede?

Preps: None in perticular, as I don't know the movie, nor the cast. I might be surprised in positive way, as normalwise, the selection on Wednesday suits my taste.

Reality: The movie strikes with a true and ironic story of a young person wanting to suceed - based on his previous region or location, he comes from, also something inspiring. There are a lot of asian students arriving in EU or USA educational institutions, willing to work harder, try longer, dedicate all of their time in order to achieve the education and in the end, being much more grateful than most of local students. In Asia, education is something that is worth as much as being a millionaire. I also believe, the charma or dare I say, the mindset is completely different as oppose to european or US standard. Therefore, in the end, the students tend to be much more successful just because of this mindset. Normally, they would have a sponsor - in this piece, briliantly cast of Meryl Streep, naive and supportive, as I would see them without knowing any in person - but they often strike me as optimists, following an inner reason to support students from other cultures. In this case, she dedicates her life to Chinese students for the simple fact that she likes and is inspired by China in general.

The movie exposes another problem all students are facing - failure to admit that the scholar or student exceeded his tutor. This happens all the time and in some sense doesn't stimulate science at all, it does have the antieffect. In this piece the student cannot understand, how he came from the top position in tutor's or menthor's mind to the last. The brilliance, through which Liu gets to his ideas and to his discovery that he pursues, is absolutely unique. For ordinary people (with normal ways of interaction, thinking, etc, the process of creating unique and breathtaking ideas is simply something you cannot dare to imagine. In the movie, it reveals, that the breathtaking ideas in some cases can be driven by a simple every day task like cooking.
The main dissappointment, deriving from unability to at least listen to Liu (from his menthor) and furthermore, not confirming the thesis for Ph.D, is devastating to the student, it makes him fall down on his knees, not knowing what to do, lying to the parents that have a "famous son" on the other side of the world. On one hand, the escape from normal asian life that he tries to avoid or surpress, on the other hand, the unability to make the menthor listen and praise another science discovery.
The downfall unikely shows how a person can be destroyed externally and also internally, burying his soul over a thing he cannot bring out in the open. Dark Matter in this sense appears obscure and ununderstandable to the viewer, absolutely something too profound to understand. But you get the sense it must be something too scientific to handle for a normal human being.

My personal rating: 6,0 (a classic "wannabe this person" movie, but only in the first part. The second part of the movie will break your heart).

Dark matter on IMDB

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