Summer Palace

An emotionally charged chronicle of the short-lived sexual and political idealism that swept through Beijing in the late 1980s, Lou Ye's fourth feature marks a stunning new direction for Chinese cinema. Certainly the most erotic and sexually explicit film to come from mainland China, Summer Palace is groundbreaking in its scope, ambition, and poeticism, brilliantly capturing the euphoria and disillusionment that marked the period. At the film's core is the stormy, passionate relationship between Yu Hong (Hao Lei) and Zhou Wei (Guo Xiaodong), students at Beijing University. Their sexual connection, charged by the developing political landscape, ignites as they struggle to find a place in the world. Over the next decade, lovers and time intervene against a relationship that will fade, but never disappear. Summer Palace is indebted to Lou Ye's French contemporaries in sensibility and style, showcasing a singular humanism, potent sexuality, and blunt political force.

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