A Summer at Grandpa's | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Film » Movie Critic's Choice

A Summer at Grandpa's


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien (A Time to Live and a Time to Die) has been hailed as a major new talent of the 80s, and this lyrical childhood remembrance shows you why. A young boy and his sister spend a summer at their grandparents' house in the country while their mother recuperates from an illness; they while away the hours climbing trees, swimming in a stream, searching for missing cattle, and coming to uneasy grips with the enigmatic and sometimes threatening realities of adult life. The fine, unsentimental attention to childhood incident, as well as the vignettish formal structure, recalls the work of Japan's Hiroshi Shimizu, a child-genre specialist of the 30s and 40s whose Four Seasons of Children this film closely resembles, though Hou's social concerns run deeper, and his spare, contemplative styling--the precise formal center around which a world accumulates--sets him squarely among the modernists. There's a slight sense of drift toward the end, as if Hou's personal, long-take certainty had momentarily deserted him, but otherwise it's a remarkably assured effort. (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday, June 5, 6:00, 443-3737)

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment