Your Company

Summer Palace(颐和园)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

China, France · 2006
2h 20m
Director Lou Ye
Starring Hao Lei, Guo Xiaodong, Hu Ling, Zhang Xianmin
Genre Drama, Romance

Country girl Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her lover to study in Beijing. At university, she discovers an intense world of sexual freedom and forbidden pleasure. Enraptured, compulsive, she falls madly in love with fellow student Zhou Wei. Driven by obsessive passions they can neither understand nor control, their relationship becomes one of dangerous games - betrayals, recriminations, provocations - as all around them, their fellow students begin to demonstrate, demanding democracy and freedom. Was the only Asian film selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in 2006. In September of 2006, director Lou Ye was barred from making movies for five years because the film incorporated footage of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and wasn't screened for Chinese officials. The Chinese government also demanded that all copies of the film be confiscated

We hate to say it, but we can't find anywhere to view this film.

What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


Village Voice by

The director is at his best portraying the dingy dorms and vivid idealism of college life; his film stalls when it meanders away from these particulars toward a sweeping but empty attempt at the epic.


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

In Summer Palace Lou nonetheless succeeds in finding a cinematic language that does more than summarize the important events of a confusing decade. He distills the inner confusion -- the swirl of moods, whims and needs -- that is the lived and living essence of history.


The New Yorker by David Denby

In truth, I’ve never seen so much lovemaking in an aboveground film, but the revelation, and great triumph, of Lou’s work is that these scenes are never pornographic--that is, never separated from emotion.


Variety by Derek Elley

Fourth feature by Mainland helmer Lou Ye ("Suzhou River," "Purple Butterfly") shoots for metaphysical drama but ends up saying very little beneath all the poetic voiceovers, sexual encounters and political seasoning.


Los Angeles Times by Kenneth Turan

For director Lou Ye, who also co-wrote the script and was a student in Beijing during that crucial year, Summer Palace is the story of his particular lost generation, a story he felt so deeply about he risked his career to tell it. Search out this vivid film in a theater. Don't let the sacrifices he made be in vain.


L.A. Weekly by Scott Foundas

Jolting narrative ellipses sometimes threatens to bring the whole house of cards tumbling down. What never lessens is the movie's rapturous eroticism, and the exquisite longing in each one of Yu Hong's sideways glances.


New York Post by V.A. Musetto

The bureaucrats in Beijing want to get rid of the sex and full-frontial nudity and scenes of cops beating protesters in Tiananmen Square. I would keep all that but cut out some of the flab in the second half of the 140-minute drama.

Users who liked this film also liked