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In the Heat of the Sun

Where to Watch In the Heat of the Sun


In the Heat of the Sun is a 1994 film set in Beijing during the cultural revolution in the 1960s. Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by author Wang Shuo, it is directed by Jiang Wen and follows the story of a group of teenagers who spend their summer days playing pranks, forming relationships, and experiencing life in their rapidly changing society.

The main character is Ma Xiaojun, played by Yu Xia, a young boy of around 14 who is seen as a leader among his group of friends. He is confident, outgoing, and full of energy, constantly seeking out opportunities for excitement or mischief. The film is told through his eyes, with Yu Xia narrating and providing commentary throughout various scenes.

Ma Xiaojun's friends include his best friend, Lao Shan (Wei Chen), a reserved and somewhat awkward boy who is often teased by the group but maintains a close bond with Xiaojun. There is also Cat (Shaobo Dai), a mischievous and street-smart boy who is always looking to make a profit, even if it means scamming his friends. Other notable characters include Ma Xiaojun's crush, Mingming (Lei Xia), and his elder sister (Qianhua Chen), who is a writer and something of a rebel within the family.

The film explores the lives of these teenagers as they navigate the complexities of growing up in a society that is rapidly changing. They are surrounded by propaganda and revolutionary slogans, but they also find ways to push boundaries and rebel against authority. In one memorable scene, they sneak into a screening of a banned film, delighting in the forbidden pleasure of watching something they are not supposed to see. They also engage in petty theft and vandalism, but these acts are seen as harmless and even playful compared to the violence and chaos that surrounds them.

The film also explores the dynamics of family and relationships within this context. Ma Xiaojun's family is struggling to stay afloat financially, and his parents are constantly at odds with each other. His sister's rebelliousness causes tension within the family, but Xiaojun admires her independent spirit and her willingness to challenge authority. Meanwhile, Xiaojun's crush on Mingming is both sweet and awkward, and their tentative romance is played out against the backdrop of a society that is anything but romantic.

One of the most striking aspects of the film is its use of color and music. The cinematography by Gu Changwei is both lush and gritty, capturing the heat and vibrancy of Beijing in the summer while also highlighting the stark contrasts and tensions within the society. The music, composed by Zhao Jiping, is similarly evocative, featuring traditional Chinese melodies alongside contemporary pop and rock songs.

In the Heat of the Sun is a coming-of-age story that offers a unique perspective on a period of Chinese history that is still shrouded in mystery and controversy. It is a film that captures the spirit of youthful rebellion and the thrill of discovering new experiences while also addressing the larger political and social issues of its time. Through its vivid characters and its immersive atmosphere, it tells a story that is both deeply personal and universally relatable.

In the Heat of the Sun is a Drama, Romance movie released in 1994. It has a runtime of 134 minutes. Critics and viewers have rated it mostly positive reviews, with an IMDb score of 8.1..

Jiang Wen
Xia Yu, Ning Jing
In the Heat of the Sun is available on .