A Brighter Summer Day, directed by Edward Yang, is an incredibly ambitious and moving movie. It touches on almost every theme that cinema could capture, yet never feels forced thanks to its foundation in a true story. I wished I had gone into the movie completely blind—anything you could think of would probably appear in the movie anyway.

Despite a run time of nearly four hours, the movie remains tightly focused on events that affect its protagonist. This makes its length its strength as it gives the audience significant time to sympathize with its characters and absorb the social context of that time. Because of this, it’s one of the few movies that convinces me of the inevitability of its plot—if I were to step into the any character’s shoes, I wouldn’t have done anything differently.