Craft By Zen

A Brighter Summer Day

Film Poster for A Brighter Summer Day
Released: 1991
dir. Edward Yang
First Watched:

Original Title: 牯嶺街少年殺人事件


This review may contain spoilers.

This movie demands your attention. Yang doesn’t spell out what you’re watching, and that’s what makes this movie great. If you’re not familiar with Taiwan’s history, you may miss some of the subtle cues of the film.

At first, I was reminded of an Ozu film because of type of shots in Japanese houses. And then it hit me these nationalists who just fought off the Japanese fled to the home of the enemy. When one of the teenage character finds a samurai sword, there’s some stigma the adults have towards him.

It will take a re-watch or two to start to grasp the different character. On first pass, it’s a powerful movie about adolescent love. I’m sure on the second pass, I’ll have a deeper understanding of the secret police.

Still from A Brighter Summer day
Still from A Brighter Summer day

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Find it streaming through JustWatch.