In the Heat of the Sun ☀️ A Great Film Set in Beijing

In the Heat of the Sun (Review) – Growing Up in Beijing in the 90’s

这是部受批判的电影,毒性非常大。小孩看了会犯错误的,会犯很大的错误

zhè shì bù shòu pīpàn de diànyǐng, dúxìng fēicháng dà. xiǎohái kànle huì fàn cuòwù de, huì fàn hěn dà de cuòwù

This is a criticized movie, very dangerous. Children will do bad things and make big mistakes after watching it.

A quote from the movie In the Heat of the Sun, which is the film that we are going to discuss with you today.

The Chinese name for “In the Heat of the Sun” is 阳光灿烂的日子yángguāng cànlàn de rìzi.

It is a movie that can’t be watched online from Chinese streaming platforms right now. Maybe the reason relates to the above quote?!

The film won a lot of awards, not just in China, but internationally, such as Coppa Volpi Best Actor at the 51st Venice International Film Festival.

Other major awards include…

Best Feature Film
Best Director
Best Leading Actor
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Sound Effects

33rd Golden Horse Awards

Now let’s have a review about this film.

In the Heat of the Sun – Trailer

In the Heat of the Sun – Plot

In the Heat of the Sun – Main Cast

In the Heat of the Sun – Chinese Swear Words

In the Heat of the Sun – Watch Online

In the Heat of the Sun – FAQ’s

Have you ever watched any Chinese movies? Leave a comment below and share with us what you think of them. Here’s some of our favourites!

In the Heat of the Sun – Trailer

In the Heat of the Sun is the first film that Jiang Wen directed, it tells the coming of age of a group of teenagers during the Cultural Revolution.

The bohemian life, memories and illusions of young Ma Xiaojun in adolescence are intertwined with the turbulent background of that time.

In the Heat of the Sun – Plot

It is based on a novel called Wild Best 动物凶猛 dòngwù xiōngměng.

The story is based during the Cultural Revolution and shows the growth process of a group of teenagers in a military compound in Beijing.

Jiang Wen changed this novel of 60,000 Chinese characters into a script of 90,000 Chinese characters.

As his first film as a director, you may find that the depiction of main character Ma Xiaojun has some similarities to Jiang Wen‘s childhood.

Adolescence is always accompanied by rebellion. In the early 1970s, some young boys who live in the military compound, due to a lack of parental discipline, skip school, smoke, fight, hook up with girls, and make as much trouble as possible to have fun.

In the Heat Of the Sun Review
In the Heat Of the Sun

One of these boys is called Ma Xiaojun. His parents are busy with their own troubles and have no time to educate or accompany him.

He then learned the skill to pick the locks of people’s homes, not so he could steal things, but just to have fun.

One day surprisingly, he unpicked the lock of a home and found a huge picture of a beautiful girl. He was touched, shocked, and perhaps even fell in love with this girl.

However, he later found out that this girl just thought of him as a silly little child who knows nothing. She goes on to have a great relationship with his good friend.

He was jealous and due to this, did a lot of crazy things.

Discover 9 other amazing Chinese Movies to watch

In the Heat of the Sun – Main Cast

  • Ma Xiaojun 马小军 mǎxiǎojūn – there are actually three actors playing this character. The main actor we talk about is Xia Yu 夏雨 xià yǔ who plays young Ma Xiaojun. The main reason that Xia Yu got this role is because Jiang Wen’s mother said that they were similar.

Ma Xiaojun is a boy living in the military compound in Beijing. His father is a soldier and his mother is a teacher.

His mother then unexpectedly becomes pregnant again. Being beaten and scolded by his mother is very common and there is no communication between them at all.

He has several great friends who also live in the military compound. Just like other boys, he wants to show off and wants to be a hero.

However, deep in his heart, he is also a coward. He often talks to himself in the mirror as the trailer depicts.

For example, there is a scene after he was reprimanded by the police, he tries to imagine to himself he was fighting back bravely. The reality is far from that.

There are also several scenes where Ma Xiaojun remembers things incorrectly rather than how they actually happened. This can help you understand his character better.

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 🎥 Watch Movies, Learn Chinese

One of the best ways to learn a language is by watching Movies. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a great way to learn Chinese and discover the culture.

  • Mi Lan 米兰 mǐlán – played by Ning Jing 宁静 níngjìng.

A dream girl for these young boys such as Ma Xiaojun and Liu Yiku. A beautiful girl and many people fight for her.

Mi Lan & Ma Xiaojun - In the Heat of the Sun
Mi Lan & Ma Xiaojun

Behind the scenes – the director Jiang Wen felt that the picture of Mi Lan hanging on the wall was not as beautiful as the one described in the novel.

So he set up a machine on the spot, let Ning Jing, who plays the role of Mi Lan stand there, and they took 23, 040 pictures

They chose a SINGLE PHOTO out of those 23,040 pictures and that was the one shown in the movie scene mentioned! Crazy right!?

  • Liu Yiku 刘忆苦 liú yì kǔ – played by Geng Le 耿乐 gěng lè.
Liu Yiku
Liu Yiku

忆苦 means to remember the bitter times, a very typical name in the early 1970s.

He is a leader among these young boys lived in the military compound.

He is like a big brother and protects the others.

He smokes, hooks up with other girls, fights and even jumps into the pool from a high place to impress Mi Lan.

He is also an ignorant boy who yearns for love but does not know what love is.

In the Heat of the Sun – Chinese Swear Words

It’s to find a Chinese film with so many Chinese swear words in a movie anymore, especially using such an authentic Beijing accent.

In the Heat of the Sun is therefore a great opportunity for you to know how Chinese people lived at that time and learn the Beijing accent, alongside a tonne of swear words!

A list of swear words in the film, which mainly actually hol the same meaning, “f*ck off”.

  • 去你妈的 qù nǐ mā de
  • 你丫 nǐ yā
  • 我操 wǒ cào
  • 我抽你丫的 wǒ chōu nǐ yā de
  • 操你大爷 càonǐ dàye
  • 滚蛋 gǔndàn
  • 孙子 sūnzi (pronounced zei)
  • 王八犊子 wángbā dúzi
  • 傻逼 shǎbī

拍婆子pāi pó zi – A boy who hooks up with girl and they don’t know each other
早恋 zǎoliàn – Puppy love

Want to discover more Chinese Swear Words? Check these out!

As a Chinese national myself who was born in 1990s, we are definitely not allowed to have 早恋 (puppy love).

We are told that you are a student and the main or even only job is to study and nothing else.

If teachers find that some students may have the sign of 早恋,he or she will be asked to call their parents to have a talk. Very different to the west.

Things are seemingly improving with Chinese people who were born in the 2010’s.

Parents will communicate with them instead of strictly ordering them not to do something.

There are so many scenes in the Heat of the Sun that remind me of my own school days.

For example in the scene before students have class, one classmate will say 起立 qǐlì and all students will stand up and say 老师好 lǎoshī hǎo, then the teacher will say 同学们好 tóngxuémen hǎo.

That’s a real situation of when we were students. We did the same thing to greet the teacher.

In the Heat of the Sun – Watch Online

If you feel that the trailer above is not enough, you can watch the whole film below with a clear image.

To my knowledge, I don’t think you can watch the completed version of In the Heat Of the Sun on a Chinese streaming platform.

You can watch it on YouTube instead.

The film is around 140 mins and the version on YouTube doesn’t have English subtitles.

If there are any sentences or scenes you need explaining, we are happy to help.

HOWEVER – have you seen our post about two sets of subtitles on YouTube yet?

If not, you’ve got to check it out – Language Learning with YouTube is the one of the greatest new ways to learn Chinese online.

Discover how to watch a YouTube video with TWO sets of subtitles

In the Heat of the Sun – FAQ’s

Who is Jiang Wen?

Jiang Wen is a famous actor and director from China who directed In the Heat of the Sun. In fact this was the first film he directed.

What is In the Heat of the Sun?

It is a film directed by Jiang Wen, it’s Chinese name is 阳光灿烂的日子yángguāng cànlàn de rìzi.

It tells the story about a group of teenage boys coming of age in the 1970s.

Where can I see the completed In the Heat of the Sun?

You can watch the completed version of In the Heat of the Sun on YouTube.

Is In the Heat of the Sun a good film?

It is quite famous in China since it was released in 1994 and has won lots of awards.

Also in 1995, Time Magazine ranked this film as one of the top ten best films in the world.

Does In the Heat of the Sun have English subtitles?

No, the version on YouTube doesn’t have English subtitles.

You are welcome to share with us if you can find it online 🙂

Edited by Katie Coy and Max Hobbs

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