Ba Yue (The Summer Is Gone). 2016. China. Directed by Dalei Zhang. 106 min.
Dalei Zhang’s atmospheric debut feature is a portrait of a family in Inner Mongolia in the early 1990s that doubles as a snapshot of a pivotal moment in recent Chinese history. As the country settles into its new market economy, 12-year-old Xiaolei stretches out his final summer before beginning middle school, while his father contends with the possibility of losing his job as a filmmaker for a state-run studio, and his mother, a teacher, worries about her son’s grades and future. Beautifully shot in shimmering black-and-white, The Summer Is Gone is intimate and far-reaching, creating ripples of uncertainty from the microcosm of one family’s everyday life.