People really change when they grow up. – Eternal Summer
Directed by Leste Chen in 2006, Eternal Summer is a Taiwanese romance film starring Joseph Chang, Ray Chang and Kate Yeung as high school students in south Taiwan. Studious student Jonathan (played by Ray Chang) and playful Shane (played by Joseph Chang) are best friends since young until a transfer student Carrie (played by Kate Yeung) reallocates to Taiwan, accidentally creating a love triangle between the trio.
The story was interesting as I was expecting the two friends to fight over Carrie’s attention and not for the Jonathan to fall for his best friend Shane. But the ambiguous ending scene was a disappointment. What did Shane mean exactly? Why were the three of there sitting on the bench? Did she sat in the middle of the friends because he wasn’t romantically interested in Jonathan? Why did the best friends have sex then? Was it because Shane knew that Jonathan was gay and that having sex was the only way to retain the friendship or? I appreciate shows that leave room for viewers to interpret but hey, this is a rather big gap for us to fill in.
I have to praise the cinematography for the stunning scenes in the film. The camera angles were appropriately placed and the long takes at landscapes such as the beach will reflected the feelings the characters faced. You can really feel the frustration and agony Jonathan faces when he discovered the secret relationship between Carrie and Shane; it isn’t really betrayal (by Carrie) per se but rather a deep melancholic feeling knowing your crush is forever taken away from you. Shots of Jonathan on his school rooftop really make you feel lonely and helpless.
I hardly recall hearing any soundtrack but either ways, music has little to no role in this somber story. Also, I like to think that the acting was good as well, especially by Joseph Chang. He really played an annoying boy/friend well and his boyish looks fitted his character as a XYZ too.
But there was one thing that really irked me a lot as I watched this film: the editing. Not even exaggerating it but sometimes I just couldn’t tell the passing of time. How long did Jonathan and Carrie dated? Are the friends finally taking their university entrance exams? How old are they now? No clue and mise-en-scene didn’t really hinted at it either.
Overall, Eternal Summer is an average film that explores the love triangle and friendship between the characters. There is an explicit sex scene between the two guys so it’s definitely not wise to watch it with the family. The cinematography fortunately makes up for the lack of storytelling.