Author: Qinna Shen
Source: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies (JCMS), 60, no. 5 (2020–2021): 48–74. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jcms/oa-issue
Publication type: Article
Abstract: The year 1989 comprises a vital part of the Tiananmen generation’s memory and identity. Yet any attempt to address the turbulent events of that year, however obliquely, carries a high risk of censorship. Lou Ye took that risk in Summer Palace (2006). His iconoclastic exploration of sex and politics at a thinly disguised Beijing University was banned in China and languishes in relative obscurity in the West. This article endeavors to ensure that Summer Palace receives the serious recognition it deserves. The film’s narrative arc stretches from Beijing to Berlin and uses a delayed death in Berlin as an opportunity to commemorate the dead of 1989.