I can shoehorn this into LH by mentioning that unlike most foreign movies, Edward Yang‘s masterpiece (according to an interview I read, or perhaps according to the critic who introduced the film as his own choice for best overlooked movie of the 1990s at a Museum of the Moving Image festival over a decade ago) was originally titled in English, A Brighter Summer Day, and Yang then came up with what he considered a less adequate Chinese title (牯嶺街少年殺人事件 Guling jie shaonian sha ren shijian, “The Boy in the Murder Incident on Guling Street”). But the fact is I just want to shamelessly plug one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. Yes, it’s four hours long, and it takes a while to get going, and it references a lot of obscure (outside Taiwan) history, but if you’re a movie lover in Manhattan, where it’s very belatedly making its official US debut, you owe it to yourself to see it. Here‘s A.O. Scott’s review in yesterday’s NY Times, and here‘s a thoughtful Reverse Shot piece by Andrew Chan, which explains the English title in its final paragraph:
The second pun lies in the title itself: a humorous mistranscription of the phrase “a bright summer day” from Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?,” which one of Xiao Si’r’s friends is learning to sing.
If a Region 1 DVD ever comes out (I believe there was a Chinese one at some point), it’s going straight on my Amazon wishlist. (Criterion, are you listening?)