Dongdong de jiaqi
Dongdong de jiaqi
Directed: Hsiao-hsien Hou
Language: Mandarin, Shanghainese
Grandpa (Koo Chuen) and Grandma (Mei Fong) live in the fertile Taiwanese countryside. A boy (Wang Chi-Kwang) and his sister (Sun Cheeng-Lee) are packed off to their grandparents when their mother falls ill. Though relationships are strained at first, the boy and girl end up having a wonderful summer with grandpa, as the old man takes them on fishing trips and helps them in their search for a lost cow. Summer At Grandpa's didn't have a very long theatrical life in Taiwan, though it proved more successful on the international scene. The film's original title was Tung-Tung-Te-Chia-Ch'i, which in itself is reason enough to see it.
Movie ReviewsA sublime meditation on growing up
Author: Howard Schumann from IMDb
Tung-Tung and his 4-year old sister (Sun Cheeng-Lee) spend the summer in the
country with their grandparents when their mother is hospitalized due to a
gall bladder problem. Told from the point of view of 11-year old Tung-Tung
(Wang Chi-Kwang), Hou Hsiao-hsien's Summer at Grandpa's is a sublime
meditation on growing up and its inevitable loss of innocence. Hou shows how
the children try to insulate themselves from the outside world but can never
quite escape it, being compelled to include adult events in their life of
which they have little comprehension. Ting-Ting writes beautiful letters to
his parents that show a delicate sensitivity but also a lack of
understanding of what the adults around him are up to.
In typical Hou fashion, each character has strong points and weaknesses. The grandfather (Koo Chuen), a doctor, is loving but also harshly judgmental, forbidding the children's uncle to marry his girlfriend, and the uncle shows an immaturity that belies his age. The children also are complex characters whose reactions reflect their inability to express their feelings. For example, when the boys go swimming without her, Tung-Tung lashes out by taking their clothes and floating them down the river. One of Hou's most accessible works and one of his warmest, Summer at Grandpa's contains a hint of melodrama, but it is balanced with Hou's typical sense of the natural rhythm and flow of life.