The Last Summer
Release year: 2000
Run time: 100 mins
Film type: Documentary
The film documents a group of underground conceptual artists and performance artists active in the folk art scene of Chengdu, China. It captures their process of engaging in underground art creation and organizing underground art exhibitions during the summer of 1999, the final summer of the 20th century. The summer of 1999 was a tumultuous period in Chinese politics. It marked the tenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989, the outbreak of the "Falun Gong incident," and the moment when Taiwan's leader, Lee Teng-hui, made the "two-state theory" declaration, almost leading to a war between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. These underground artists used their creations to reflect their understanding and perspectives on Chinese history and contemporary society. However, their actions were constantly under official surveillance.
Xinzhong Chen, also known as Zhong Chen in English, was born in Chengdu, Sichuan, China in the 1970s. He graduated from the Department of Engineering Mechanics at Tsinghua University in China, earning a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. In the 1990s, fueled by his passion for photography and videography, he made a career change and joined Chengdu TV station. In 1998, he was awarded a full assistantship from Temple University's film department in the United States, which enabled him to pursue comprehensive film education. In 2003, he earned an MFA degree in film production. Zhong Chen's works have been selected for more than 100 international film festivals and have garnered numerous awards. He has been invited to deliver lectures at various esteemed universities in the United States, including Northwestern University, Stanford University, University of Paris VII in France, Lund University in Sweden, and several universities in China. Furthermore, he has served as a guiding lecturer at the Odense International Short Film Festival's master class in Denmark. Currently, he resides in Chengdu, China, and works as a freelancer.