Three high school students experience the perks and pitfalls of love in director Leste Chen's sensitive tale of friendship and yearning. As a child living in a seaside town in southern ... See full synopsis »
Beijing, 1988. On the cusp of middle-age, Chen Handong has known little but success all his life. The eldest son of a senior government bureaucrat, he heads a fast-growing trading company ... See full summary »
Jet is the star gigolo in Hong Kong. Arrogant, sexy, everyone falls in love with him, but he falls in love with no one... until one day he meets Sam, the hunkiest policeman to ever pound a ... See full summary »
Two boyhood friends are separated due to the disappearance of the sister of one of them, then later meet again as teenagers, when one of them has become a pop singer, and they discover feelings that they did not know they had.
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Sumin is an orphan trying to balance work in a factory with study at an art college and an evening job. One night, a rich young businessman makes an advance on him during one of his driving... See full summary »
In China, homosexuality isn't illegal, but homosexuals are routinely persecuted by police and arrested for "hooliganism". The film focuses on a young gay writer A-Lan who, being attracted ... See full summary »
A young woman's struggle to overcome life's economic restrictions in order to meet her true will. She is twenty-three and lives with her mother, a compromise she can no longer stand. ... See full summary »
Three high school students experience the perks and pitfalls of love in director Leste Chen's sensitive tale of friendship and yearning. As a child living in a seaside town in southern Taiwan... See full synopsis »
This movie was a box office success in its native Taiwan when it was released late last year, garnering 4 nominations in Taiwan's Golden Horse Award along the way, and an eventual win for one of its male leads (Bryant CHANG Jui-chia, or ZHANG Ruijia in pinyin, who plays Jonathan KANG Zhenxing in a nuanced performance repletes with all the requisite repressed troubled mood), though a nod for its other male lead (Joseph CHANG Hsiao-chuan, or ZHANG Xiaoquan in pinyin, who plays the other-worldly Shane YU Souheng with tremendous vigour and enough *bling*), for the role of the high school jock and the object of desire of Jonathan, will be just as pleasing.
But the movie's success is less sterling in HK, where it just opens, presumably because movie-goers here typecast it with yet-another-melodramatic-Taiwanese-film association, and one with GLBT-theme at that, which is a shame, for it deserves a wider audience, even as it's one that isn't without minor flaws of its own, as befits the fate of most coming-of-age films helmed by relatively young directors (in this case, Leste CHEN, all of 25).
The plot is decidedly simple, and the narrative mostly linear, tracking the friendship and love of its 3 main protagonists ("best friends" Jonathan, Shane, and Carrie, played by Kate Yeung who shines in limited screen time) in their youth, from age 11 in a school in rural Hualian (in 1991) to age 18 (1998) to the college year in Taipei (2005), with all of their ensuing majesty, glory, anxiety, complicity, confusion, pang, angst, and a dreamy quality thrown in.
The film will benefit from some minor editing for a more even pace. Original music by Jeffrey CHENG is intrusive at best. These minor quibbles aside, cinematographer Charlie LAM's rendering of the rural locations is thing of pure magic and the theme song by Ah Xin (of the "May Day" rock band fame) blends in magnificently with the direction to which the film eventually takes.
A friend asked if this is a tear-jerker to avoid at all costs. My answer to which is that hot and bitter tears may flow, not necessarily because of the inherent sadness of the human conditions, but may be because it deepens our understanding of those who are perceived to be "different" and living on the fringe.
And if the measure of a film lies in whether the audience connects with the characters towards the end, and whether it leaves you with the sudden urge to be young and fell in love all over again, then it isn't to be missed; and so it seems "Eternal Summer" is a welcome addition to the growing list of Taiwanese films with GLBT content.
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