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23 days to watch

Summer Palace

Yihe yuan

Directed by Lou Ye
China, France, 2006
  • Mandarin
  • English
Freedom & Defiance: The Cinema of Lou Ye


It is 1989, and 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.

Our take

After his memory-clouded Purple Butterfly, Lou Ye opted for greater directness in his next romance, set among Beijing students during the 1980s. Featuring both Chinese film’s first full nudity and overt reference to the Tiananmen Square police action, he was banned from filmmaking for 5 years.

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