Monday, August 29, 2011

Tiananmen Love Story

Summer Palace (2006) - Lou
Spanning 15 years of the recent tumultuous Chinese history and the world over (from The Berlin Wall, Tiananmen Square, Hong Kong Handover to Iraq), Summer Palace tells a story of young love. It starts as Yu Hong (Hao Lei) from Tumen, a small town near Chinese-North Korean border, gets an acceptance letter from Beijing University. After settling into a cramped but lively dormitory life, she befriends Li Ti (Hu Lingling) and falls madly in love with Zhou Wei (Guo Xiaodong). Their relationship is rocky and full of drama and involves lots of screwing. Even though not overtly political, their youthful energy explodes at the Tiananmen Square and quickly dissipates. After finding out Zhou Wei having an affair with Li Ti, the heartbroken Yu Hong drops out of school and goes back home. Zhou Wei and Li Ti move to Germany with Li Ti's boyfriend who has connections.

Lou Ye, along with his cinematographer Hua Qing, captures intimate moments of the bustling youth scene during the pivotal moments in China. For the characters, their lives have been altered forever and they will never be able to duplicate their friendship, their love. It's Lou's homage to his generation which endured all these changes. A bit overlong, but very beautiful film.

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