It’s the early 1990s and Xiaolei has just finished primary school. He is looking forward to the long, hot summer in the provincial town in northern China where he lives. As he daydreams, spies on the girl next door and visits the cinema, Chinese political reforms play out in the background: a lot of state companies are being privatised. This means that Xiaolei’s father, who works at a film studio, could lose his job. In the meantime, his mother wants her son to attend a prestigious secondary school.