Over-contrived perhaps, but an interesting example of how Westernised China is becoming. Even adopting ‘Happy Birthday’, that mournful dirge. Affluent nuclear family in their high-rise strained to breaking point; nostalgia for rural simplicities and the more humane values of the older generation. Where else have we seen healthy attitudes recovered like this recently? What We Did on our Holiday involved kids outdoors relating to a wise kindly grandpa who refused to conform to modernity. And further back in our program there was the Japanese film Like Father, Like Son, where the cossetted boy goes to live with his biological father who is lower down the social scale but more in touch with traditional customs and a much better dad.
In The Nightingale the stand-out scene for me was the children running to climb the giant tree. Somewhere among them the pampered iPad-obsessed city girl, just being another kid and loving it. Even though Hilary Clinton said it, maybe it does take a village to raise a child. No doubt it was an idealised vision of rural China, but how sad that ever fewer children will have that sort of childhood—even in China.