Actor Jiang Wen's first feature is a archetypal rites-of-passage film about a group of boys entering puberty one hot summer in Beijing: fooling around, showing off and bonding, spying on girls, clashing with other gangs, dealing with pesky erections. Two things distinguish it. One is Jiang's own wry voice-over, admitting that these are romanticised and sometimes wished-for episodes from his own childhood. The other is the mid-1970s setting, the dog days of the Cultural Revolution, after all the Maoist frenzy, which it shows as no movie has ever done before.
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