refreshing, delightful, unusual teen drama from Hong Kong
The Chinese title, "My Brother's Lover", was originally "Three Summers" and retains that title in English. The change probably reflected the producers' need to trumpet the presence of former Hong Kong adult actress Veronica Yip (Yip Yuk Hing/Ye Yuqing), whose marginal character (one of the first to herald a well-received crossover into non-adult roles) and understated, shadowy sex scene no doubt disappointed the grindhouse crowd in Mongkok.
What they saw instead was a lovely, surprising movie about friendship between young girls growing up in rural Hong Kong - Tai O on Lantau Island, to be precise. One of those girls is played by a very young Wu Chien-lien (of Eat Drink Man Woman fame) at the very beginning of her acting career.
Director Lawrence Ah Mon's other films tended to be gritty, realistic affairs, and this movie is no exception, especially in comparison with other facile HK efforts on the subject. Written by Taiwanese stalwart Sylvia Chang (another Eat Drink Man Woman alumnus), the film mixes teenage joy, sadness and confusion in a way that is neither patronising nor predictable.
The film was made in 1992; at that time Hong Kong's future international airport was still having land reclaimed for its construction. In one scene, the kids go for a hike and spy the site off shore. A neat metaphor for the loss of their innocence. It's good to see that Ah Mon is still working in HK despite the near-collapse of the local industry.
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