In Inner Mongolia in the early 1990s, 12-year-old Xiaolei enjoys summer with his father, who works at a film studio, and his education-minded mother. But life is rapidly changing, as stable jobs at state-owned companies disappear.
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The director, Dalei Zhang, dedicated the movie “to the generation that birthed ours,” and while he wraps it in nostalgia, most overtly through the black-and-white cinematography and lush music, there’s real sting here.
Even when it’s occasionally slipping imperceptibly into reverie, The Summer Is Gone is single-mindedly devoted to evoking the way a pre-adult mind compartmentalizes the world, how it lives almost carelessly in the moment, without fear or knowledge of what the future entails.