Before I go into the film review proper, a couple of rants about the movie trip. Number one, nobody checked my identification. wahaha~ *hurt* I know I am above 21, but I am not really that much older, and I don't think I look old, so how come nobody checked my identification. Okay, I have never been checked for identification before so maybe our film vendors just aren't that conscientious ba. haha...
Second, I was quite curious because other than me and my friend, the theatre was filled with lone ah peks, about a dozen of them or so, and one auntie, one normal couple, and two gay couples. I wondering do the ah peks know anything about the show before buying the tickets to watch. This isn't Chinatown, not all R21 films are softcore porn, there's a whole lot of arthouse flicks around here lor. Besides, I don't think this sort of film appeals to the normal ah peks. haha~ Wonder if they were disappointed anot.
Third, this film was censored. Damnit! It's already R21 and isn't that long a film and the bloody censorship board must still want to cut it somemore. Kanasai... Some parts of the film was quite abrupt and I don't know if it's supposed to be the director's style or the censorship board's style. crap...
Sheng Xia Guang Nian tells the tale of two guys and one girl's love triangle relationship. From when they were in grade school to them in high school waiting to enter university. Kang Zheng Xing as a grade schooler was a good student, obedient and hardworking, he was made by the teacher to be Yu Shou Heng's partner and from then his studies was affected. Still, he was mildmannered and nice, but afflicted with emotional upheavals.
Yu Shou Heng was a boy with ADD, very mischievous, very naughty. He didn't have any friends and Kang Zheng Xing became his first friend. Yu Shou Heng matured over the years to become the basketball team's star player in high school and even made it into the university team. He's tall, dark, atheletic, outspoken and provides a good contrast to the mild Kang Zheng Xing. Despite all that, the two of them remained close friends going to and from school together.
I really like the parts which Yu Shou Heng would pick up Kang Zheng Xing, in his bicycle and his motorscooter later. It's like the standard recurring motif in all films of this genre. Ya, it reminded me of Cardcaptor Sakura where Touya would never fail to pick up Yukito to go to school together.
Du Hui Jia was a girl from Hong Kong who came between the two friends. She was first Kang Zheng Xing's girlfriend after they got to know each other from the newspaper club, then they skipped classes to go up Taipei together and even checked into a motel. But after Kang Zheng Xing rejected her, she got to know Yu Shou Heng better and after a few encounters and with Yu Shou Heng making into university, the two of them got together behind Kang Zheng Xing's back.
I think Du Hui Jia was portrayed very well, seeing her torn between the two guys, and her knowing Kang Zheng Xing's secret yet not being able to do anything, and even coming between the two guys, it's quite difficult. Yu Shou Heng was quite evenly portrayed, but I thought that he became very stereotypical of all shounen-ai couples which made his feelings for Du Hui Jia seem rather awkward. Special mention is reserved for Kang Zheng Xing. His internal emotional struggles was so well portrayed that I really felt so deeply for him. That actor Bryant Chang won the Golden Horse award as New Performer for this role. That explains the well protrayal of Kang Zheng Xing.
The film was quite slow paced which allowed for the emotional development of the various characters, I liked it. Though sometimes it can fall a bit too melodramatic, but it's not really that indulgent. The story is sad, but not to crying/wailing kind of sad, it's the sadness that hits you in the guts and make you think about the characters whole night long kind of sad.
With the two guys one girl theme, I'd first think of comparing it with Fleeing by Night, only that Eternal Summer is more explicit in the expression of emotions of love. It's not like I don't like sex scenes, but somehow I prefer more implicit relationships. It's like prefering shounen-ai to yaoi. But anyway, I bet that our sex scenes was censored away anyway. bah~
My IMDb rating for it stands at 9/10 although I think an 8.5 would be a bit fairer.