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SUMMER PALACE

Director : LOU YE

Status: Completed

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Synopsis
Short synopsis

Against a volatile backdrop of simmering political unrest, two young lovers play out their complex, erotic, love/hate relationship. Beautiful Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her lover to study in Beijing, where she discovers an intense world of sexual freedom and and falls madly in love with fellow student Zhou Wei. Their relationship becomes one of dangerous games, as all around them, their fellow students begin to demonstrate, demanding democracy and freedom.

Lou Ye (Suzhou River; Purple Butterfly) reveals a portrait of a place and a generation – China and liberated Chinese youth – as never seen before in the West. Lyrical and brutal, elusive and explicit, elegiac and erotic, Summer Palace depicts a passionate love story and the struggle for personal liberty jeopardized by history and fate.

Long synopsis

Against a volatile backdrop of social unrest and simmering political reform, two young lovers play out their complex, erotic, love/hate relationship.

Beautiful country girl Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her lover to study in Beijing. At university, she discovers an intense world of sexual freedom and forbidden pleasure. Enraptured, compulsive, she falls madly in love with fellow student Zhou Wei. Driven by obsessive passions they can neither understand nor control, their relationship becomes one of dangerous games – betrayals, recriminations, provocations – as all around them, their fellow students begin to demonstrate, demanding democracy and freedom.

Protests collapse, and Yu and Zhou lose each other amidst the social chaos and panicked crowds.

Zhou is sent to a summer military camp, and on his release moves to Berlin, fleeing both his country and memories of Yu. She finds a job, a lover… but cannot forget Zhou. In Germany too, social unrest is mounting: calls for freedom, demonstrations for democracy. A familiar story for Zhou. Weary, still haunted by Yu, he returns to China as the Berlin Wall crashes down. He finds her at last, in a small town. From evening to dawn, their future stretches before them, two changed souls in a changed world. Will they survive, together or alone?

In his ravishingly shot SUMMER PALACE, Lou Ye (Suzhou River; Purple Butterfly) reveals a portrait of a place and a generation – China and liberated Chinese youth – as never seen before in the West. Lyrical and brutal, elusive and explicit, elegiac and profoundly erotic, summer palace depicts a passionate love story and the struggle for personal liberty jeopardized by history and fate.