The Summer Solstice
Release year: 2007
Run time: 105 minutes
Film type: Fiction
The melodrama by Li Ruijun about a woman and her child who slowly slides towards their fate is a refined abstraction that turns the contradiction between countryside and city into a dramatic frame for the battle for a new and successful existence. A young fortune hunter, HuYang, tries to set up a company in Beijing, but fails. He disguises himself as a Buddhist monk to earn his living begging. When he meets a relative, a relationship ensues that embarrasses the family in their home village. It is decided that they have to get married and a child is born. Traditional married life is however not their thing and HuYang leaves again looking to happiness. Again he comes back, but everything that seems to remain the same has changed for good after all. With an eye for composition and a surprisingly good sense of humorous timing, the young debutant shot nearly all his patient, minimalist scenes in The Summer Solstice from a distance and he avoided close-ups. This physical distance gives plenty of room for the inner drama. Without becoming sentimental, Ruijun shows us a dramatic family tale in which the dilemmas, pitfalls and dreams of young Chinese people at the start of 21st-century are accurately portrayed.
LI Ruijun (1983, China) started to learn painting and music when he was a teenager. He graduated from an institute of management. For several years he has been working as a TV director. His feature debut The Summer Solstice was screened in several film festivals.