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A Summer at Grandpa's
A film by Hou Hsiao-hsien
1984 / Taiwan/ Col/ 102 mins
9th June 2013; 5.45 pm
Perks Mini Theater
A Summer at Grandpa's (1984), follows events in the lives of the story's adult characters from a child's limited point of view, demanding that the spectator alone make sense of what's onscreen, just as the young protagonist does. The child's slow education becomes an allegory for the process of gradual understanding in which the viewer engages.
Shot in a summer palette of greens and blues, and everywhere evoking the gentleness of nostalgic pastoralism, Hou's film subtly demonstrates how the violence, desire, and strife of living, thinly veiled by the conventions of adult society, are nonetheless impressed on the protagonists.
In A Summer at Grandpa's, director Hou Hsiao-hsien uses the techniques he developed in his earlier work with young actors to create an entire narrative following two child protagonists as they learn about the complexities and problems of adulthood. Based on the childhood experience of Hou's frequent collaborator, Chu T'ien-wen, the film follows Tung-tung and his sister, Ting-ting, as they are sent to the country home of their mother’s father while their mother lies ill in hospital.
Tung-tung is beginning to learn to communicate his feelings and interpretations in the letters he writes to his parents, even if they sometimes overwhelm him. “So many things happen each day that I can't keep track,” he tells them. “I'll tell you later if they come back to my mind.” As spectators, we are often similarly overwhelmed, but Hou's film places demands on our powers of observation, insisting that we, like Tung-tung, attend to the minutiae, ironies, and deeper meanings it offers us. (Source:Internet)
Hou Hsiao Hsien , born April 8, 1947) is a Taiwanese actor, singer, producer and director. He is a leading figure of Taiwan's New Wave cinema movement. Director Hou Hsiao Hsien, in a 1988 New York Film Festival World Critics Poll, was voted one of three directors who would most likely shape cinema in the coming decades. He has since become one of the most respected, influential directors working in cinema today. In spite of his international renown, his films have focused exclusively on his native Taiwan, offering finely textured human dramas that deal with the subtleties of family relationships against the backdrop of the island's turbulent, often bloody history.
All of his movies deal in some manner with questions of personal and national identity, particularly, "What does it mean to be Taiwanese?" In a country that has been colonized first by the Japanese and then by Chiang Kai-Shek's repressive Nationalist Government, this question is pregnant with political connotations.