“Have you watched Pretty Woman?”

The other night, C. was humming the song “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison. That reminded me of the 90s movie “Pretty Woman”, starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. I don’t know about other countries, but this movie was very popular in Spain.

So I asked him: “Have you watched the movie?”.

“Is there a movie?”, he replied.

“Well, the song is not from the movie, but yes, there is a movie from the 90s called “Pretty Woman”, do you know it?”.

“No… you know, in the 90s in China we only watched Lei Feng* movies”.

Chinese propaganda poster of Lei Feng by Qiu Wei (丘玮)

Chinese propaganda poster of Lei Feng by Qiu Wei (丘玮) from Wikipedia.

*From Wikipedia: Lei Feng was a soldier of the People’s Liberation Army of China. After his death, Lei was characterized as a selfless and modest person who was devoted to the Communist Party, Chairman Mao Zedong, and the people of China. In 1963, he became the subject of a nationwide posthumous propaganda campaign, “Follow the examples of Comrade Lei Feng. Lei was portrayed as a model citizen, and the masses were encouraged to emulate his selflessness, modesty, and devotion to Mao.

Although someone named Lei Feng probably existed, the accounts of his life as depicted by Party propaganda are heavily disputed, leading him to become a source of cynicism and subject of derision among segments of the Chinese population. Nevertheless, Lei’s image as a role model serviceman has survived decades of political change in China.


The conversation reminded me of a post about childhood cultural references that I wrote a few months ago. One more movie to the list!