A boy experiences first love, friendships and injustices growing up in 1960s Taiwan.
A boy experiences first love, friendships and injustices growing up in 1960s Taiwan.
In one of the many expository "dream sequences" in Christopher Nolan's Inception, Leonardo DeCaprio's Cobb explains to Ellen Page's Ariadne that "Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." It's not only an accurate statement but one that applies just as beautifully to the world of the cinema. The lights go down, the audience tunes in, and the world painted across the silver screen is our everything. When the final shot cuts or fades and the credits start scrolling, the trance dissipates like a shock to the system. A truly great film allows every aspect of reality to reorganize while we're away, and when the real world…
It's truly a shame that A Brighter Summer isn't better known because it's truly one of the greatest landmarks in modern cinema. It's about a lot of things at once, but Yang beautifully balances everything out. It's as intimate as a love story, but at the same time also as expansive as a historical film. Set in 1960s Taipei, the film is said to be based on a real incident that the director remembers from his school days when he was 13. It's a violent incident, which the film places in the context of the political environment in Taiwan at that time.
A Brighter Summer Day is nearly four hours long but it doesn't take it's lengthy running time for…
"If a person apologizes for wrongs they didn't commit, then they are capable of anything terrible."
"Natural? You can't even tell real from fake."
If it's slowly becoming a cliche to call this film 'novelistic,' it is simply because it is true, as much as I would like to perversely dis-spell that notion (a truly self-destructive act!). Over 100 characters with speaking roles, this creates a density of details and interrelationships which serve as both a portrait of a culture (and/or diminishing culture with the beginnings of a new one) as well as a process of depersonalization borne from the desire for cultural identity. Xiao S'ir is at once a fully realized, developing character himself and a walking metaphor…
Kids nowadays with their dating and their street gangs.
"You seem to lack inner calm. . ."
"You can't ask others to do what you think is right."
"Don't let the past get you down."
"Have you ever done anything for anyone?"
"You can't even tell real from fake, how can you make movies?"
Coming up on the next episode of The Frances Farmer Show.
The rocky path to adulthood in nationalist-controlled Taiwan elegantly captured in this four-hour epic which covers almost everything from gang affiliation due to a lack of cultural identity, amplified by the rapid spread of western culture during that time, to a tragic romance among unguided youth subjected to betrayal and injustice by not only their very own peers, but distracted, careless adults as well. Most of the film's strength come from its smooth and well-written dialogues, simple yet sort of poetic in a very natural way. One of my favorite dialogue-driven moments was when Shi Er's father, who was struggling to raise his family while keeping his temper in check, abruptly switched to Cantonese (was it Cantonese or Taiwanese Hokkien?…
A slice-of-life drama that involves murders, this film combines elements of a paranoid thriller, a high school flick, a small town drama, a family drama, a gang crime story, and more into its languid runtime, depicting the complicated web of consequences, motivations, and relationships that fuels any community amplified by historical events (in this case, an influx of population). Yang uses both major historical events (said influx) and minor (memories from his past) to heighten this tale, and the heavy drama feels less sensational and more real because of it--that, and the down-to-earth performances. The murders, especially, are portrayed in a manner that does not separate them from any other scene, almost nonchalantly directed, so to speak, and that makes the film feel rooted in the humanity depicted rather than the Events.
i was watching this movie peacefully, minding my own bussines when the video stops and the fucking rick astley "never gonna give you up" thing starts playing for about 10 seconds and it ends im going to SUE
Will definitely take at least another viewing to fully process this one; it has such an ambitious scope that it took me a bit of time to feel mostly in control of the characters and approach. Some quick notes, though: like in Yang's Taipei Story, the discomfort of day-to-day existence is palpable throughout here, but on a much broader scale. Set in Taiwan in the heat of anti-communist sentiments, we feel the societal unease and difficulty in finding life's rhythm; parents struggle to raise their children; the boys form gangs to find some sense of community. At nearly four hours, Yang asks a lot of the viewer, but he's in such complete control of the simmering subject matter that violent…
Is it even possible to rate a film like this? A film so rich, so full of energy and juice, so unpredictable, relatable and beautifully built? I guess not.
This film, and almost every other film directed by Edward Yang (similarly to his fellow Asian filmmakers such as Hou Hsiao-Hsen, Hirokazu Koreeda and even Ozu himself) has the ability of portraying everyday life, genuine values and traditions, spontaneous movements, emotions and gestures and never let it sink the film itself. "A Brighter Summer Day" is undoubtedly one of the greatest milestones of 'experience-based' cinema, accompanied by (in my opinion) Kieslowski's "Decalogue", Ozu's "Tokyo Story", Malick's "The Thin Red Line", Tarkovsky's "The Sacrifice" and Edward Yang's later modern masterpiece "Yi-Yi".
My words fail to describe Edward Yang's cinematic mastery, yet I must try and at least scratch the surface of these complicated, and very layered feelings from my post-viewing period.
I went for hours afterwards in deep thought spurred on by the film, confronting the complex questions brought upon by this sublime four hour experience; experience, is the key word. The film is so heartbreaking, and beautifully shot, acted and written, it is instantly one of my favourite films, of all time.
The film is about such a profoundly personal growing experience. Whilst I have not entered into violent street gangs as the lead character of Xien Si'r did, I have had to confront his peregrinations. The reason he enters…
Unimpeachably brilliant and vast in both scope and beauty, this is the rare 3+ hour movie that justifies every second of its run time. Not for the faint of heart, but it contains more depth than probably anything I've ever seen.
I renewed this from the library so many times that I was like lol by the time I get around to it, it'll be................. a brighter summer day B-)
ANYWAY... I dedicated the last day of winter getting lost in Edward Yang's world, which is so fully realized here. It was glorious and sad and totally rock n roll (hi, I love Cat). And that ending I can't quite shake off -- Yang keeps doing this to me, but never so effectively before (though I've admittedly only seen a third of his filmography).
P.S. Did you notice The Platters album cover hanging on the wall of the café? (There's a great "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" scene in The Terrorizers.)
I cannot put into words how great this film is. Everyone should see it.
RIP to a true legend.
Edward Yang’s elegant, naturalistic way of inserting politically distressed attestations into his characters’ heads could teach other film-makers a few things. When a violent teen chooses the most American of sporting gear, a baseball bat, to beat the shit out of someone, surely that must indicate something greater in this context, but Yang isn’t going to bash you over the head with it.
This masterwork doesn't waste a single second of its four hours, and taken in its' totality, unveils a gorgeous, detailed, commanding tapestry that is as accomplished in its grand, yet subtle, scope as any of the great epics of cinematic history.
Edward Yang, i love you.
Arta 111 films
Only films with less than 3000 views. What other films' most frequent rating is 5 on letterboxd? (with <3k views)…
Chris House 1,000 films
This is the February 2017 edition of the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? list of the 1,000 greatest films.