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Film Screening: A Brighter Summer Day (Guling jie shaonian sharen shijian)

May 4 @ 6:00 pm 10:00 pm

Similar to Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s A City of Sadness (1989), A Brighter Summer Day also traces the experiences of a large family during a critical historical epoch in Taiwan. Set in the early 1960s, against the backdrop of a society witnessing the consequences of major demographic shifts and political oppression, this film depicts the difficult trials awaiting the simple and harmonious life of the Zhang family. With Yang’s exacting demands on the historical accuracy of the props, such as the family house and the furniture in the classrooms, A Brighter Summer Day splendidly restores the material historical world to us while inquiring into its zeitgeist. Caught between the world of rock ‘n’ roll, gang rivalry, love triangles and the White Terror paranoia, a group of teenagers are compelled to learn to negotiate the tensions and discrepancy between ideals and reality. The adolescent struggles in grasping that which is worth holding on to, be it people or principle, turn out to be an inescapable fate for adults alike.

Widely considered as Yang’s magnum opus, this film, based on a real-life murder, launched Chang Chen’s acting career at the age of fourteen. The brilliant juxtapositions of light and darkness, movement and stasis, sound and silence, all work together to yield a tragic lonesomeness that even the warmth of a bright summer day cannot cure.

Directed by Edward Yang. With Chang Chen, Lisa Yang, Chang Kuo-Chu

Taiwan 1991, DCP, color, 237 min. Mandarin, Min Nan, Shanghainese and English with English subtitles


May 4
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Event Categories:


Harvard FIlm Archive
View Organizer Website


Harvard Film Archive, Carpenter Center

24 Quincy St
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States

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