Close Up

10 June - 29 July 2018: A Brighter Summer Day


A Brighter Summer Day
Edward Yang
1991 | 237 min | Colour | Digital
Mandarin & Taiwanese with English subtitles

“While Yi Yi brought Yang worldwide success, A Brighter Summer Day is more often pointed to as his great masterpiece, combining as it does the incisive eye and narrative complexity of Taipei Story and The Terrorizer with an epic scope that can truly be called novelistic. At the beginning of the 1960s, Taipei, though still semi-rural, struggles with a rapidly advancing modernity. Kids listen to Elvis Presley and join street gangs, while between the and the generation of their parents – displaced by the Chinese civil war and the Kuomintang's retreat to Taiwan – lies a tragic gap that only emotional excess and violence can fill. Young Si’er (Zhang Zhen) falls hard for Ming, a lovely, endearing and complex girl of “questionable” reputation who unfortunately “belongs” to the leader of a rival gang. More Carmen than Romeo and Juliet, the film offers a tender representation of ill-fated teenage love. At one point, a character refers to War and Peace, and Yang’s film reveals no less ambition than Tolstoy’s epic novel, but on a much smaller scale. In the world of A Brighter Summer Day, war is a distant memory, but peace is in short supply.” – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Edward Yang