a tall order, yet Penghiao delivers the emotional goods as he tethers
those decades of many changes with fascinating glimpses into the group
members’ various friendships (although some would label them as Survivor-styled
alliances) and their conflicting loyalties. Penghiao uses master shots
in the first half, allowing the young cast members to realistically
interact in front of the camera’s locked-down position as members of
the “Little Red Guard,” in compelling scenes of a stunted childhood
that are far removed from what you’d find in a repeat of The Wonder Years.
As the movie’s kids progress into adolescence and adulthood in the
1980s and 1990s, the drama escalates amid cultural shifts and
unavoidable betrayals in a prime example of cinematic storytelling.
Full disclosure: The DVD screener was missing some narrative chunks, so
the aforementioned running time is surely longer. A U.S. premiere. Ballroom, Saturday, May 3, 7:15 p.m.