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A Brighter Summer Day (1991)A Brighter Summer Day (1991)

A Brighter Summer Day (1991)

A rich, melancholy tale of 1960s youth in Taiwan

Crime, Drama, Romance

best
THE VERY BEST

9.0

movie

Taiwan

Mandarin

Character-driven, Slice-of-Life, Sunday

1991

Edward Yang

Chang Chen, Chang Han, Chang Kuo-chu

237 min

Synopsis

A boy experiences first love, friendships and injustices growing up in 1960s Taiwan.

Our Take

9.0
Renee Cuisia

At nearly four hours long, A Brighter Summer Day is a sprawling, beautifully composed film that follows young Xiao Si’r and his eventual entanglements in nearly everything, from love to youth gangs to politics. While parts of the story, particularly its bone-chilling climax, are based on true events, the film is largely reconstructed from Edward Yang’s memories of the era he grew up in. As a result, the visuals feel crisp and true, tinged with just the right amount of nostalgia to balance the grittiness of its realism. 

As coming-of-age films go, A Brighter Summer Day is certainly more on the tragic side. It’s also seminal in its specificity and depth—an absolute must-watch for any and all filmgoers. 

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