Plot Synopsis: As a child, class monitor Jonathan (Bryant Chang) was assigned by his teacher to ‘look out’ for the trouble making Shane (Joseph Chang). Now in the last year of high school, Jonathan and Shane have since maintained a great friendship, although Jonathan may be developing romantic feelings for Shane. When Carrie (Kate Yeung) the new girl befriends Jonathan and eventually discovers that he is in love with Shane, things start becoming complicated. The 3 of them must eventually figure out what they all mean to each other.
Comments: Of recent years, Taiwanese filmmakers have made really great, or at least interesting teenage/coming of age films that readily explore racial identity (Yang Yang) sexual identity (Blue Gate Crossing, Spider Lilies, Miao Miao, Candy Rain etc. etc) or even just the pangs and joys of first love (2011’s You are the Apple of My Eye) which is much more interesting than the usual fare of whatever IS in American high school films these days. And considering how small Taiwan is, Hollywood should be embarrassed.
Eternal Summer is a very simple and bittersweet story of falling in love with your best friend. Its English title is highly ironic, since it’s clearly the end of ‘summer’ (youth) for the 3 teenagers in the film, as they have to face up to the relationships and friendships with each other.
The mood and tone set by director Leste Chen in the film is brooding, somewhat melancholic, which enhances the themes of the end and coming of age for the 3 main characters, as well as the alienation and loneliness each of them experience as part of their own identities. The film did well enough to be recognized at the Golden Horse Awards (Mandarin filmmaking industry’s Oscars), and was nominated for 4 awards (3 Acting nominations), winning one for Bryant Chang for Best New Performer, which I think was thoroughly deserved since the chemistry between Bryant Chang and Joseph Chang was fantastic.