Gulingjie Shaonian Sharen Shijian

Un mejor día de verano | A Brighter Summer Day

TW | 1991 | 237 min | 35mm |

*Latin American Premiere*

If Yi Yi is the most renowned film by Edward Yang, A Brighter Summer Day is his greatest masterpiece by unanimous decision. A 4-hour flood of pure cinema covering over a year’s time —1960-1961, a key moment in the growth of then infant Yang— to tell the story of a real-life crime while taking a keen interest in the world of youth in those days. The chromatic atmosphere of the film is marked with childhood’s seal; a bias for rebellious themes, the unveiling of one’s own idiosyncratic values through the assimilation of American pop culture, a narrative disposition, and a stunning technical display make of this film one of the milestones in 20th-century cinema.

The human context: Chinese subculture in Taiwan following the fleeing after the Communists’ victory in 1949. An introductory text sets us in the social landscape: the children of this generation now live in a permanent state of uncertainty that has derived in the creation of street gangs to achieve safety and control. The main character, Xiao Si’r (Chang Chen), an extremely thin and shy student is divided between routine at home, partying with his friends, and the dangerous life of gangbangers. Xiao Si'r’s parents (Chang Kuo-Chu and Jin Elaine) migrated from Shanghai after the Communist’s victory —just like Yang’s father; and after more than ten years, the lives of these families are still uncertain. Xiao Si’r’s decisions and personal relations will expose him and his close ones to danger.

The unruly spirit of A Brighter Summer Day links it to examples of rebel Hollywood films from the 50s and the 60s, such as Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Elia Kazan’s East of Eden (1955). For its approach to internal group dynamics and the gang as filmic object, it could also be linked to titles such as Fellini’s I Vitelloni (1953) and Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets (1971). It has to be said here that Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation recently restored this master piece of Taiwanese cinema and this restored 35mm copy is part of the 3rd FICUNAM celebration for an avant-garde and essential filmmaker.

Maximiliano Cruz