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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 27, 2006

IWP Presents U.S. Premiere Of Cannes Hit 'Summer Palace' Oct. 8

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) will present the U.S. premiere of "Summer Palace," written and directed by IWP participant Lou Ye from China, at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, in Room 101 of the Becker Communication Studies Building. In the free event, Lou will introduce and comment on the film.

"Summer Palace" was screened to critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival, was recently shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is scheduled for the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Set in 1989, this drama about changing life and politics in China through the eyes of two young lovers was denied a release certificate by the Chinese government, and as a result of the Cannes screening without official permission the Chinese Film Bureau banned Lou from making films in China for five years.

The controversy is traced at The showing at Cannes is documented at

Manohla Dargis wrote in the New York Times, "Sex and politics are on full boil in Lou Ye's 'Summer Palace,' an engrossing, estimably ambitious epic about the generation of Chinese students who came of age brutally in 1989 when army tanks took aim at protesters agitating for democratic reforms."

Lou rose to fame with "Suzhou River" (2000), which he wrote and directed, and which won major awards at film festivals in Rotterdam, Paris and Tokyo, as well as the FIPRESCI prize in Venice, and was voted by Time Magazine (Asia) as one of the best movies of 2000.

In the wake of its screening without official permission, Lou was banned from making films in China for two years.  Since then he has written and directed "Purple Butterfly" (2003) and "Summer Palace" (2006), both screened at the Cannes Film Festival to broad critical acclaim.

Lou is one of 29 writers, representing 22 countries, in residence this fall at the IWP. Biographies of all the writers are accessible on the IWP website,

"Summer Palace" contains material of an adult nature.

This event is co-sponsored by the UI Institute for Cinema and Culture.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073; cell: 310-430-1013;