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China / France, 2005 (MIFF 2006, Transience: The Asian Metropolis)

Director: Lou Ye

With Summer Palace, Lou Ye establishes himself as the first Chinese filmmaker to use the 1989 Tiananmen Square student uprising as his backdrop, earning him, unsurprisingly, the ire of the Chinese authorities.
However, far from being a political diatribe, Lou's film is a sensual and complex epic of two star-crossed lovers who play games with each other's hearts almost as dangerous as the social unrest raging around them.
The Cannes Film Festival described Summer Palace as “An ambitious work, which, like his (Lou's) preceding film (Purple Butterfly) blends the torments of the heart with those of history.” Lou says of his motivations and the autobiographical nature of the film, “What I wanted to say is that personal feelings are far more complicated. Exterior chaos is more easily resolved.”
Sure to generate a lot of heat, as much for its frank sexuality as its historical context, Summer Palace is a vital and potent recognition of often unspoken personal and public issues in China.

D Lou Ye P Fang Li, Nai An, Sylvain Bursztejn S Lou Ye, Zeng Jian
WS Wild Bunch L Chinese, German w/English subtitles TD35mm/2006/140mins

Lou Ye was born in Shanghai, China, in 1965. His films include Weekend Lover (1995), Suzhou River (2000) and Purple Butterfly (2003).

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