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I'm watching the movie "in the heat of the sun" and very often groups of people seem to greet this way: a guy says "古伦木!" and the other one says "欧巴!". Now, I'm trying to figure out if this has some specific meaning in the context of early '70s. I'm not very good at understanding Chinese and I'm watching the movie with english subtitles, and they just don't translate those two expressions, they just leave them as "Gooloomoo" and "Ooba".

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  • Are you sure it is Chinese?
    – Tang Ho
    May 16, 2020 at 20:03
  • @TangHo: The whole movie in in Mandarin so I'm assuming these words too are. I've tried to do some research on Google and I think I read something about war password (?) but definitely I'm not sure since I barely understand anything May 16, 2020 at 20:09
  • Literally, they have little meaning. But as a special scene in Jiang Wen's film, yes they do. It's a punchline where at the end of film, the guy reponds them by "shabi"(idiot). Many people explain the change of this tiny dialogue as a shift of the era, where the revolution ideal were abandonned.(the one who still believes them is regarded as an idiot) And more ironically, it is an idiot(physically) who points out this. Aug 17, 2022 at 15:21
  • I feel surprised that you watched his movie, personally I think all his movie are excellent, among which the best is The Sun Still Rises(His own opinion), and also Let the Bullet Fly the second(my opinion). To fully(well I doubt) understand his movie, you have to have a good understanding of Modern Chinese history (not only the official one). But after all, movie is movie, history is history, never mix them up. Aug 17, 2022 at 15:29

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古伦木 and 欧巴 are two characters' name from a traditional Chinese Opera 奇袭白虎团. In the movie "yang guang can lan de ri zi", the director used these two names in his own characters. And these two names are used for a signal when they meet up.

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古伦木 and 欧巴 are not character names but two lines in 奇袭白虎团, which is a Korean-war-themed 'Modern Peking Opera'(革命现代京剧, Peking operas written in PRC). The plot involving this two lines is (which is historically accurate, based on records in the Korean War): the Chinese army and North Korean army learn from a South Korean captive the password of a certain South Korean checkpoint and successfully pass this checkpoint using the password. The password is "A: 古轮木 B: 欧巴". (It is said that 古轮木 is from Korean 구름 gureum [cloud] and 欧巴 from 우박 ubak [hail].)

The movie In the Heat of the Sun focused on youngsters who grew up in the Cultural Revolution era. Eight selected modern Peking operas, or 八大样板戏 Eight Model Operas, are the most-often performed and the most influential operas during that time. Almost everyone then knows these two lines. In the movie, Ma Xiaojun and his gang use these to tease the fool 傻子, who always answers with 欧巴 when asked with 古轮木 (an imitation of that opera). However in the end of the movie, when they, as grown-ups, meet the fool and try to tease him again, the fool answers with 傻屄 stupid cunt. It represents the end of dissipated youth of Ma Xiaojun.

Jiang Wen used this as a symbol of the Cultural Revolution era and his youth (he has grown up in the same era and the same environment as Ma Xiaojun, and the movie can be seen as his attempt to put his youth memories onto the screen).

Jiang Wen's movies are not easy to understand (the meaning of the character of the fool is still often discussed in China today), let alone to people with little knowledge of that special era (including today's Chinese young men who were born after the Cultural Revolution and didn't experience it personally).

The full text of 奇袭白虎团 can be found here: http://www.mzdbl.com.cn/yinyue/gepian/baihutuan.html

The discussion of the character 傻子 on Zhihu: https://www.zhihu.com/question/30430096

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The phrase "咕噜木"(Gooloomoo) and "欧巴"(Ooba) are from an opera ➡️ Raid on the White Tiger Regiment

The movie ➡️ In the Heat of the Sun is based on the novel ➡️ Wild Beast and it seems the phrase "Gooloomoo" and "Ooba" do not appear in the novel.

I have neither read nor watched the original novel nor the opera so I can't comment on my own understanding of them. Why did the director put the phrase into the movie? However, I found a thread where people talk about their understanding and I think this post is very structured. For your reference, you can take a look with Google Translate:

https://www.zhihu.com/question/26657004/answer/64896840

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