Thursday, November 28, 2013

830. Guling jie shaonian sha ren shijian/A Brighter Summer Day (1991)

Running Time: 237 minutes
Directed By: Edward Yang
Written By: Yan Hongya, Lai Mingtang, Yang Shunqing, Edward Yang
Main Cast: Chang Chen, Chang Kuo-Chu, Elaine Jin, Lisa Yang, Wong Chizan


Happy Thanksgiving to all of the American readers, although by the time you read this, Thanksgiving will be over. Anyway, here's hoping you had a happy and safe "Turkey Day" and didn't get mauled while doing your Black Friday shopping.

So here we have "A Brighter Summer Day", a film that I was moderately looking forward to, since it was the other film in THE BOOK directed by Edward Yang, director of "Yi Yi" - a film that I really liked and one that even landed a "Ten Worth Mentioning" spot. I've got to be honest and say this film was a travesty for me. It has a running time of about four hours and I can tell you first hand that the four hours wasn't warranted. I'm not even going to get into the plot, because, to be honest, I kind of checked out at about the ninety minute mark or so and everything after that was me just watching, but only about half paying attention, while I stared at the clock and hoped this movie would just end ASAP. I really hate to admit that, because I'd like to think I give all movies my 100%, undivided attention, however, there are times when I try and fail to give that privilege to a film and "A Brighter Summer Day" was one of those times.

I think my biggest complaint would be that, like "The Blue Kite", the film just wasn't loud enough. It was like that person speaking at the back of the room, with everyone else saying "Huh?" and "What did he say?". The film would've benefited greatly by a music cue here and there - and I'm not talking about a lot of music, but this film had absolutely no music and a shot of piano or weeping guitar would've done wonders to give off a little emotion - or actors who weren't paid amateurs. I'm not even sure if these actors were amateurs, but they looked like amateurs, so that's what I'm calling them. The film also got me curious to know if Chinese cinema ever strays away from telling stories about the impact that historical events and governmental shifts had on everyday people. It seems that every single time I watch a movie produced in China, it's always something that draws off of something that really happened. It's enough to make this viewer hit a culture clash wall, where maybe it just doesn't have the same impact on me, because I just don't know what they're talking about or because it didn't impact me at all, whereas it impacted them directly.

RATING: 2/10  I'm going to give it a '2', because I liked it more than "Farewell My Concubine" and because I think there was a great movie buried in there somewhere, that I just couldn't see.


November 28, 2013  11:54pm


  1. Oh dear, we are both struggling with this little crop of Chinese/Taiwan films aren't we?

    I again refer the reader to previous replies about me failing the film rather than the film failing me. Sometimes a culture gap can be just a tad too wide.. Shame.

    1. Yes, I am struggling immensely!! And I say that with both "Raise the Red Lantern" and "Once Upon a Time in China" sitting on my desk, ready to be watched. UGH!


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