A Brighter Summer Day

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A Brighter Summer Day
A Brighter Summer Day (movie poster).jpg
Directed by Edward Yang
Produced by Yu Weiyan Yang
Written by Hung Hung
Lai Mingtang
Alex Yang
Edward Yang
Starring Chang Chen
Lisa Yang
Chang Kuo-Chu
Elaine Jin
Cinematography Huigong Li
Longyu Zhang
Edited by Bo-Wen Chen
Yang & His Gang Filmmakers
Jane Balfour Films
Distributed by Cine Qua Non Films
Release dates
  • July 27, 1991 (1991-07-27)
Running time
237 minutes
Country Taiwan
Language Mandarin
Taiwanese Hokkien

A Brighter Summer Day (Chinese: 牯嶺街少年殺人事件 Gǔ lǐng jiē shàonián shārén shìjiàn, "Brighter Summer Day murders") is a 1991 Taiwanese drama film directed by Edward Yang. The film is an extraordinarily large project for a Chinese-language film, not only for its duration of almost four hours, but also for its involvement of more than 100 amateur actors in different roles. The title is derived from the lyrics of Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome Tonight?".


  • Chang Chen as Xiao Si'r
  • Chang Kuo-Chu as Xiao Si'r's father
  • Elaine Jin as Xiao Si'r's mother
  • Lisa Yang as Ming
  • Wong Chizan as Cat
  • Lawrence Ko as Airplane
  • Tan Zhigang as Ma
  • Lin Hongming as Honey


Set in 1960s Taipei, the film is based on a real incident that the director remembers from his school days when he was 13.[1] The original Chinese title, 牯嶺街少年殺人事件, translates literally as "The Murder Incident of the Boy on Guling Street", referring to the 14-year-old son of a civil servant who murders his girlfriend, who was also involved with a teenaged gang leader, for unclear reasons. The gang leader and girlfriend are involved in the conflict between gangs of children of formerly-mainland families and those of Taiwanese families. The film places the murder incident in the context of the political environment in Taiwan at that time. The film's political background is introduced in intertitles thus:

Millions of Mainland Chinese fled to Taiwan with the National Government after its civil war defeat by the Chinese Communists in 1949. Their children were brought up in an uneasy atmosphere created by the parents' own uncertainty about the future. Many formed street gangs to search for identity and to strengthen their sense of security.[2]

Chang Kuo-Chu, and his son Chang Chen (in his debut) are both cast in this film.

In 2009, the World Cinema Foundation issued a restoration of 'A Brighter Summer Day', using the original 35mm camera and sound negatives provided by the Edward Yang Estate. [3]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received much critical acclaim and was awarded several wins in Golden Horse Film Festival, Asia Pacific Film Festival, Kinema Junpo Awards and Tokyo International Film Festival. Three different versions of the film were edited: the original 237 minute version, a three-hour version and a shorter 127 minute version.[1]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b GULING JIE SHAONIAN SHA REN SHIJIAN Review (in English) by Nick James
  2. ^ Anderson, John (2005). Edward Yang. ISBN 0-252-07236-7
  3. ^ A Brighter Summer Day: Restored in 2009 by the World Cinema Foundation at Cineteca di Bologna L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory, Central Motion Pictures Corporation and Digimax laboratory in Taipei. http://worldcinemafoundation.org/films/summer

External links[edit]