In 1960, fourteen year-old Xiao Si’r (Chang) lives in Taipei with his family, who left mainland China after Mao Zedong’s rise to power. Si’r cuts school with his best friend Cat (Wang) to his father’s consternation. Si’r becomes friends with Ming (Yang) the girlfriend of Honey (Lin), head of the Little Park Boys gang. When Honey is murdered by a rival gang, Ming and Si’r begin to date. Flirting with teenage delinquency, Si’r begins to suspect Ming of cheating on him; soon his emotional stability starts to crumble.
Yang’s ambitious fourth feature sets a fairly intimate story of adolescent angst against a larger backdrop of political and social turmoil. Employing over a hundred amateur actors, Yang uses long shots, framing devices and natural lighting to create a mood of removed contemplation. At the same time, tensions gradually build, as we sense Si’r’s risky romance can only spell trouble. Combining autobiography with a notorious real-life crime, Yang infuses the canvas with the music and pop culture of sixties America, creating a powerful image of globalization as well as a stunning and tragic portrait of a teenage rebel.