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A Summer at Grandpa's (1984)
"Dong dong de jia qi" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  1984 (Taiwan)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 627 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 5 critic

When a young brother and sister spend a pivotal summer away from home, they are changed. Ting-Ting and Tung-Tung (Wang Qiguang) are children of the city, but when their mother is struck ill... See full summary »

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(as Hsiao-Hsien Hou)

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(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: A Summer at Grandpa's (1984)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chi-Kuang Wang ...
Tung-Tung
Shu-Chen Li ...
Ting-Ting
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hsiu-Ling Lin
Mei-Feng
Nai-chu Ting ...
Tung-Tung's mother
Ching-Kuo Yan ...
A kid
Edward Yang
Li-Yin Yang
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Storyline

When a young brother and sister spend a pivotal summer away from home, they are changed. Ting-Ting and Tung-Tung (Wang Qiguang) are children of the city, but when their mother is struck ill, they must leave Taipei, Taiwan, behind and spend the summer with their grandfather and grandmother (Mei Fang) in the country. As they wile away the days at play, the elder Tung-Tung is garnering glimpses of adult responsibility and is slowly growing to realize what it means to be a grownup. Written by Burly.

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

1984 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

A Summer at Grandpa's  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is inspired by screenwriter Chu Tien-wen's childhood memories. It is the first installment of director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's "Coming-of-Age Trilogy" that features three prominent Taiwanese screenwriters' coming-of-age stories - the other two are "Time to Live and a Time to Die, A (1985)" (inspired by the coming-of-age story of Hou Hsiao-Hsien, who is a screenwriter-turned-director) and "Dust in the Wind (1986)" (inspired by the coming-of-age story of Wu Nien-Jen). See more »

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User Reviews

A beautifully sweet film
21 June 2000 | by (Chicago, IL) – See all my reviews

It seems like most great directors take out time to make at least one film which focuses on the lives of children. *Pather Panchali* did it for Satyajit Ray, *Amarcord* for Fellini, *Where Is the Friend's House?* for Abbas Kiarostami. *A Summer at Grandpa's* seems to be Hou Hsiao-hsien's entry into this genre and it fits in with those other great films perfectly. Having just recently seen 6 other Hou films in a retrospective, this one does seem to be least like the others in terms of having a coherent narrative and fewer distancing effects. However, this IS like the others in terms of Hou's focus on everyday life, on how people live their lives during the periods when hugely dramatic things aren't happening. From shots like the one of discarded sunflower seeds on a train to the shot of a turtle trying to avoid a toy truck, this is a film about the little things in life from a child's perspective. What's so amazing about the film is that, while portraying small, every-day events, more profound issues about family and death are dealt with in such a complex and subtle way. The basic premise of the film (without giving away too much) is that two children go to their grandfather's house to live for the summer while their mother is sick in the hospital. Clearly the absence of Ting-Ting and Tung-Tung's mother is deeply traumatic for both. But, Hou gets at this sorrow and confusion without ever simply stating it. The best example of this is the relationship between Tung-Tung and a mentally retarded woman which is one of the most affecting and beautiful relationships I've seen on film (and it's all done without a word of dialogue). This is a hard film to find in the U.S. But, if you ever have the opportunity to see *A Summer at Grandpa's*, do see it. You'll get to experience one of the most deeply moving films about childhood that is out there.


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