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A Summer at Grandpa's (1984)

Dong dong de jia qi (original title)
| Drama | 1984 (Taiwan)
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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(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
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3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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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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1984 (Taiwan)  »

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A Summer at Grandpa's  »

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1.85 : 1
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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 sublime meditation on growing up
19 April 2004 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Tung-Tung and his 4-year old sister (Sun Cheeng-Lee) spend the summer in the country with their grandparents when their mother is hospitalized due to a gall bladder problem. Told from the point of view of 11-year old Tung-Tung (Wang Chi-Kwang), Hou Hsiao-hsien's Summer at Grandpa's is a sublime meditation on growing up and its inevitable loss of innocence. Hou shows how the children try to insulate themselves from the outside world but can never quite escape it, being compelled to include adult events in their life of which they have little comprehension. Ting-Ting writes beautiful letters to his parents that show a delicate sensitivity but also a lack of understanding of what the adults around him are up to.

In typical Hou fashion, each character has strong points and weaknesses. The grandfather (Koo Chuen), a doctor, is loving but also harshly judgmental, forbidding the children's uncle to marry his girlfriend, and the uncle shows an immaturity that belies his age. The children also are complex characters whose reactions reflect their inability to express their feelings. For example, when the boys go swimming without her, Tung-Tung lashes out by taking their clothes and floating them down the river. One of Hou's most accessible works and one of his warmest, Summer at Grandpa's contains a hint of melodrama, but it is balanced with Hou's typical sense of the natural rhythm and flow of life.


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