Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Summer Palace

Summer Palace by Lou Ye, China, 2006.

synopsis : China, 1989. Two young lovers play out their complex, erotic, love/hate relationship against a Chinese volatile backdrop of political unrest. Beautiful Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her boyfriend to study in Beijing, where she discovers a world of intense sexual and emotional experimentation, and falls madly in love with fellow student Zhou Wei. Their relationship becomes one of dangerous games, as all around them, their fellow students begin to demonstrate, demanding democracy and freedom.
Cannes 2006.
Download the press kit in English

Brief notes : With a duration of almost 2 and half hours, the film does feel its length and surely it could have been shortened. The music also could have been less been used, some scenes are unbearable because of the dramatized music (piano and violin are really too much), other aspects which I found quite awkwardly used : the history background, which unfortunately felt too far from the purpose of the film, as if dropped from nowhere, it needed to be more developed. Otherwise, the acting is fine, the sex relationships - one of the reasons of the ban - are well dealt which makes a difference from the usual mainland Chinese films, and some characters and some parts are more appealing and stand out more. However Suzhou River remains far more interesting in all kinds of aspects and is much better handled.

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