A Sunburnt Summer

DECEMBER 14, 2020
USA | 20 minutes | 2019

Drama short film directed by Zicheng Li
Starring Grace Chang, Nic Tom

Watch the Trailer

A Sunburnt Summer

Chinese title: 這個夏天,陽光很猛

A single mother has to deal with the situation, in which her son was raped by the son of her boss.

A Sunburnt Summer is a story that explores hopelessness and a mother’s love for her son. The Zicheng Li-directed short handles a very sensitive, taboo topic with a gentleness in his exploration of this story. There is an unverbalized helplessness throughout the movie as we’re taken on a painstaking journey alongside these characters.

We follow Mia (Grace Chang), a single mother who returns home to find her son, Teddy (Nic Tom), covered in bruises post birthday party. They both soon realize that what happened to Teddy the previous night was more horrific than they initially believed. And the person who committed the crime was Sean (Michael Cho), the son of Mia’s employer and close friend, Lynn (Jennifer Wang). In disbelief, Teddy initially approaches Lily (Kathy Khanh Nguyen), the other friend present at the party, but to no avail. Stuck in a difficult position, Mia and Teddy must choose between justice and their own sanity.

The leads deliver powerful performances that are as introspective as the story itself. The delicate cinematography choices work very well for this well-paced story. The film is never invasive; instead it observes every character’s internal struggle and tries not to overstep. The story attempts to answer a lot of bigger questions that society itself still has trouble understanding. And it explores just how far a mother is willing to go for her son. In the end, we are left just as helpless as the characters are.

The film is currently in the festival circuit.

A Sunburnt Summer is one of the many great projects shared with CineAsian Films through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them, submit your film.


Director, Writer: Zicheng Li
Producer: Cindy Wu
Cinematographer, Music: Huazhang Dai
Editor: Mozhu Yan
Also featuring: Jennifer Wang, Kathy Khanh Nguyen, Michael Cho

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