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The Summer Is Gone Ba yue

Zhang Dalei / China / 2016 / 108 min / Mandarin Chinese

Zhang Dalei's autobiographic feature debut highlights the contrast between melancholic atmosphere of Chinese privatisation reforms of the early 1990s and carefree childhood replete with cinematic images.

Zhang Dalei's autobiographic feature debut highlights the contrast between melancholic atmosphere of Chinese privatisation reforms of the early 1990s and carefree childhood replete with cinematic images.

A quiet rural town in north China, early 1990s. Xiaolei has just finished primary school. He is looking forward to the long, hot summer. As he daydreams, spies on the girl next door and visits the cinema, Chinese political reforms play out in the background: a lot of state companies are being privatised. This means that Xiaolei’s father, who works at a film studio, could lose his job. In the meantime, his mother wants her son to attend a prestigious secondary school.

“I never thought of this movie as realism. It’s actually like a daydream that particularly matches my memory, especially memories of my experience in the ’80s and ’90s. True or false, virtual or real, these are always hard to distinguish. So until I finished the film, I had no way to set these things apart. Its type of hazy, boundary-less sense was just what I wanted, though.” (Zhang Dalei)

Zhang Dalei
Born in 1982, in China. Grew up near the film studio where his father worked as a film editor. He studied film directing at the Saint Petersburg State University, after which he worked as an assistant director and made several short films. His feature length film, The Summer Is Gone, was awarded Best Film at the Golden Horse Film Festival in Taipei.

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