Film Archive: Leste Chen’s Eternal Summer is a touching, little-known gem

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This is a thoughtful and well acted drama, adapted from a novel by Chi-Yao Wang. Jonathan and Shane are two schoolboys, thrown together by chance when their teacher makes them befriend each other. Shane has problems concentrating and the teacher hopes Jonathan will help him stay organised and out of trouble. As the two boys grow up, their friendship is tested when they become interested in the same girl, Carrie. At first it seems as if Jonathan and Carrie will become an item, leaving Shane isolated and alone; but things don’t really get going between them, and before long Carrie and Shane drift closer to one another. It’s clear that Jonathan envies their relationship, although his love seems to be for his best friend rather than his girlfriend.

There are hundreds of films devoted to the subject of unrequited love and teenage crushes, and Eternal Summer is high on the quality scale. It doesn’t exactly break any new ground, but its story is simple and touching and played out in a no-nonsense, sensitive way. The script avoids melodrama and hysterics, and the chemistry between the three leads feels very natural. It’s a pity it didn’t receive a bigger release in Britain, but if you come across the DVD I’d recommend taking a look.

Eternal Summer (2006), directed by Leste Chen, is available on DVD from Parasol Pictures, certificate 15.

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Second year BA Film & English Student. Watches too many films and enjoys good novels.

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