Of all the movies that I’ve seen, only “A brighter Summer Day” was the longest hours film of them all, a very large project for the Chinese-language film. This film was directed by a Taiwanese director, Edward Yang who made it all possible to direct 100 actors to portray different roles. “A Brighter Summer Day“was actually based on a true incident which happened during 1960. The story was also a mixture of Yang’s youth which can be seen in the film though there is a little variation from the original. In June 15, 1961, a Taiwanese high school male killed his girlfriend in Gulling Street without any reasons.
"A Brighter Summer Day" was a personal vision which recalls both an actual street murder that shook the nation and Yang's own childhood at the same time. The story doesn’t mainly focused on the gangster’s street rival in Taiwan during 1960’s but it’s story goes behind a young man who was experiencing a major upheaval in his own country in which he wants to overcome. This movie serves as an exploration of the novel which depicts the cultural identity of the Taiwanese. This film revolves around the life of S'ir, who was a high school student by then.
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The cast was filled with different characters which seem equally worrisome. His cast is filled with plenty of variables, but each character’s plight seems equally worrisome. His father was one of the Chinese mainlanders who went all the way to Taipei during the wake of civil uprisings in 1949. Since the film was set over the course in 1961, it gave a printed introduction which explains that state is now in uncertainty where gangs thrive on the streets so they should be careful about their children and keep them safe and under control at all times.
The narratives of Yang jumps back and forth with different subplots which made it difficult to track, especially the shots that was taken from medium to long shots. Given that, the story telling skills of Yang made it possible to recognize some cues for each sequence which lets the audience trail the story. The most memorable scenes that revolve around the gangster’s school-age girlfriend have been smitten with him. They wind up next door, while they cut classes, and get easily attracted with the looks of the girl.
Upon forming an endearing bond, Si’rs friends warned him about being close to the girl and should not let her become the cause of any bad blood. This part is very thrilling, and mysterious enough to watch since you really want to know what the story behind the murder is as if you are really seeing how it happened. Yang sensed that when the dark historical moment happens, driving and being driven become one. I think that because of this feeling, it made a narrative filmmaking that creates a new genre of modern experience.
Literary, this film had hypnotically built a single act of violence when it reaches and end of one’s life which is inevitable and shocking at the same time. "A Brighter Summer Day" emerged as one of the finest film made in Taiwan. Even though the cast were all non-actors, the film was still beautifully made- shots were good, houses especially the interior were great, even the schools and the dance clubs brought a real effect that happened in the countryside during summertime. The film also created a good effect by inserting violence and serenity alternately.
The film is a rhythmic and poetic evocation of a particular era. Its ironic title (in that there is no "brighter summer day" for these characters) is taken from an Elvis song that one of the kids sings at a nightclub. It is a truly exemplary modern masterpiece that got no distribution in the West but deserves to be hunted out at all costs by those who love and cherish the film art. You can also see other characters with singing careers that has been the source of frustration and source of income of the gangsters.
The song which was entitled “Are You Lonesome Tonight” was the source of the movie’s title a song by Elvis song which was sung by some nightclub kids. This song was one of the artifacts that appear in the movie though it did not originate from Taiwan. The song captures the audience through its melodic sound and its giving such goose bumps effect when you hear it while it plays as a particular scene was shown. There were also several important props in the film particularly the samurai sword, radio a flashlight and a tape recorder as well.
Older characters appear to be strictly adhering to Taiwanese’s tradition or to something else like Christianity. The older characters, when they appear, either stubbornly adhere to Taiwanese traditions or have grabbed onto something else, such as Christianity while other older Taiwanese seemed to be powerless and weak. Children somehow understand this but perhaps cannot dig dipper to comprehend it and despite the murder that was inspired by a true to life incident, this film sees a light of hope.
S’ir’s father here was a civil servant with a high-ranking job and the accomplishments of his daughter. He often attends the best government-sponsored college and was very proud. If his son disappoints him, he butts his head against bureaucracy, hoping that he would get personal favors the system which he believes to have fair and firm regulations. Yang simplifies things by tossing a metaphor into the stew which made it so confusing in general when he narrates about the operation of the government against the people.
The backbone of the narrative structure was formed by S’ir’s shifting morality when the tragedy befalls him seems to be heartbreaking which made the entire nation moved by it. The strain has been weighed down on him and at that time, his family seems to be epidemic in the country. According to my research, the film took over several years to finish because its preparation needed to be meticulous on its construction as well as the feelings that community might have. Because the length is almost four hours, it definitely shows a remarkable film which gave an epic quality of the film.
Since the there are more than hundred speaking parts in the film, you should really focus in watching so that you’ll keep on track of what was going on with the story, which is a good strategy on capturing the audience attention. Without looking into the contradictions that it may bring in a political discourse, Yang personalized the politics and its complexities. The style of the film creates a paradox. He used I little bit of close-ups, which keeps it far away from his subjects but not so far in order for the viewers to judge them objectively and doesn’t’ lose the grasp on their concern.
The main accomplishment of Yang focused on the narrative that he made, as well as the political and emotional chaos. Familiarity arose from the running time that goes on with the consistent political attitudes which was evident in the script assures that audience concern were given focus where Yang wants it. This happens without using too much cinematic language which in turn prompts the viewer to barely identify the protagonists. Yang was never intimidated throughout the film although he made as a very expansive scope of a messy autobiographical of such territory.
Attached with the film is a nostalgia but not to the point of intelligence. Yang created a manifesto which obviously shows conflicting attitudes about the history of his country. We can see in the film that it was seemingly limitless to examine the country’s lamentation which a storyteller like Yang has done to probe the history of a nation’s developing country and its progress. For me, “A Brighter Summer Day” sure stands as a monumental achievement, and could probably be the greatest film among all modern Taiwanese cinema.
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