- 1h 53min
Ling Xi is a young man from a wealthy, respectable family in a relationship with Cindy, an underaged singer who suffers physical abuse from her father.Ling Xi is a young man from a wealthy, respectable family in a relationship with Cindy, an underaged singer who suffers physical abuse from her father.Ling Xi is a young man from a wealthy, respectable family in a relationship with Cindy, an underaged singer who suffers physical abuse from her father.
The first half of the film is pretty much focused on cute and perky young Cindy, played by 17-year-old Agnes Chan, who was a popular singer in Hong Kong and Japan at the time and who sings at least five songs, either performed at the club or heard on the soundtrack. All the songs are in English, but only one was familiar to me ("Everyone's Gone to the Moon"), although I'm guessing the others, filled with teenybopper sentiments like, "It's a new beginning, it's a brand new start," "You are 21, I am 16," "All my life's a circle," and "I have a never-ending love for you," were covers as well. (I've since learned that the last line is from "Never Ending Song of Love," originally performed by the New Seekers.) In her previous film, YOUNG PEOPLE, Agnes sang Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game" and Carole King's "You've Got a Friend."
The final third of the film is dominated by Ling Xi's dissipation and his turn to a life of crime with a band of lowlifes led by frequent kung fu villain Chiang Tao. There's kung fu throughout the movie also, since Ling Xi turns out to be a kung fu expert and gets into several fights, starting early when a bunch of hoods in cars drive up on him and Cindy at a highway lookout point at night and he has to fend them off. He even gets into brawls at Cindy's club and fights his brother (played by David's frequent co-star, Ti Lung) outdoors in one intense scene. It all culminates in a sprawling battle between David and his new gang buddies at a dramatic waterfront site in the harbor.
Through it all, there are some powerful emotional scenes of the two characters confronting their fathers and other adult figures. Cindy's father (Yang Chih-ching) is quite harsh and even breaks Cindy's guitar into pieces in an early scene, setting the emotional stage for much of what follows. Ling Xi's father (Lu Ti) is much more understanding and clearly desirous of a close relationship with his son. That Ling Xi seems to take him for granted is part of the problem. We don't necessarily side with the two lovers, nor do we turn against their parents. These aren't cardboard characters. There is even a sympathetic former classmate of Ling Xi's (played by Chiang Liang), who tries to help him, but he rejects her efforts.
Overall, this is a much better written and conceived work than the other contemporary dramas directed by Chang Cheh that I've seen, although I would really only compare it to DEAD END (1969) and YOUNG PEOPLE (1972), both also reviewed on this site. Like DEAD END, it also seems to have drawn inspiration from the James Dean classic, REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955).
The film is listed as "Generation Gap" on IMDb although the title on screen definitely adds the article and reads "The Generation Gap." But if you type in "The Generation Gap" on IMDb, you get a 1969 game show.
- Jul 2, 2008