Summer Palace (2006)



Critic Consensus: Though it suffers from excessive length and inconsistent pacing, Summer Palace is held aloft by Hao Lei's riveting performance.

Summer Palace Photos

Movie Info

A romance takes place against some of the most turbulent events in recent Chinese history in this epic-scale story from filmmaker Lou Ye. Yu Hong (Hao Lei) is a beautiful 17-year-old girl who is soon to leave the small border town where she was born and raised to attend college at Beijing University. Shortly before Yu Hong leaves for school, she gives her virginity to her longtime boyfriend, Xiao, and pledges to remain faithful to him. At Beijing University, Yu Hong makes friends with Li Ti (Hu Ling), another girl dealing with a long-distance relationship, and meets Zhou Wei (Guo Xiaodong), a handsome student who soon steals her heart. Yu Hong leaves her relationship with Xiao behind to commit herself to Zhou Wei, and she's swept up by her feelings for him as they embrace the new social and economic freedoms which are being felt on campus. The empowerment felt by the students in Beijing comes to a head during a series of demonstrations in Tiananmen Square; the protests have tragic consequences, and the excitement of new possibilities gives way to a feeling of defeat. Yu Hong and Zhou Wei are separated and the heavy hand of the state is brought to bear on the rebellious students. The first Chinese film to feature full-frontal male and female nudity, Yiheyuan (aka Summer Palace) received its world premiere as an official selection at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
Art House & International , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Lei Hao
as Yu Hong
Xiaodong Guo
as Zhou Wei
Hu Ling
as Li Ti
Cui Lin
as Xiao Jun
Long Duan
as Tang Caoshi
Xueyun Bai
as Wang Bo
Ling Hu
as Li Ti
Duan Long
as Tang Caoshi
Chi Le
as Woman
Xianmin Zhang
as Ruo Gu
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Summer Palace

Critic Reviews for Summer Palace

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (14)

Though made in 2006, its American release could not have been better timed.

Full Review… | March 21, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Search out this vivid film in a theater. Don't let the sacrifices he [Director Lou Ye] made be in vain.

Full Review… | February 29, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Like a Tolstoyan epic.

Full Review… | February 28, 2008
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

I still must recommend Summer Palace, especially for the remarkably strong performance by Hao Lei as Yu Hong, the daughter of a shopkeeper in the provinces.

Full Review… | January 18, 2008
New York Post
Top Critic

Lou Ye's Summer Palace examines youthful idealism and its unhappy aftermath.

January 18, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

In Yu Hong (Hao Lei), the film also has a vibrant heroine.

January 17, 2008
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Summer Palace

Agonizingly slow, certainly weird, yet strangely artistic; great use of music and minimalist dialogue.

Jeff B
Jeff B

Summer Palace a Chinese movie that caught my attention from the moment it started on my screen.A young girl encountered her first experiences with love and sex. The movie showed huge changes China was undergoing in the mid-eighties.She was excepted at university in Beijing and met a guy who she fell madly in love with.The acting directing, editing,photography all was very breathtaking. The story was heartbreaking as we followed these 2 student during the protests and how they lost sight of each other and lived separate lives.Sex was an important part of the movie, since it expressed passion, but still it did not have a happy ending and it had a message that you have to discover by thinking and feeling the movie.

Daisy  Maduro
Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer

Even thought I am rating this a 3 Star, its still a pretty good flix, more of a chick flix, about a young lady in china, and the movie is made from her diary. Some Nudity, so those girls under 18 hide your eyes, yea right, if you enjoy this one let me hear from you.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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