Beijing, 1988. On the cusp of middle-age, Chen Handong has known little but success all his life. The eldest son of a senior government bureaucrat, he heads a fast-growing trading company ...
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Beijing, 1988. On the cusp of middle-age, Chen Handong has known little but success all his life. The eldest son of a senior government bureaucrat, he heads a fast-growing trading company and plays as hard as he works. Few know that Handong's tastes run more to boys than girls. Lan Yu is a country boy, newly arrived in Beijing to study architecture. More than most students, he is short of money and willing to try anything to earn some. He has run into Liu Zheng, who pragmatically suggests that he could prostitute himself for one night to a gay pool-hall and bar owner. But Handong happens to be in the pool hall that evening, and he nixes the deal. He takes Lan Yu home himself and gives the young man what turns out to be a life-changing sexual initiation. Handong and Lan Yu meet often, and the boy is soon very secure in his love for the man. But Handong insists that he wants a play-mate, not a lifelong companion, and warns Lan Yu that they will eventually break up. Meanwhile, he showers... Written by
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Liu Ye and Hun Jun worked on their rapport only four times before production, playing basketball (of which Liu at 6-foot-1 was a star player at school) and dining. They spent time with their respective girlfriend and wife present, to clarify their romance will only be fictional. See more »
When Chen Handong takes Lan Yu home for the first time, an American television show is playing in the background, and the announcer says "not only is Los Angeles the largest city in California, but it is also the state capitol." This is wrong, Sacramento is the state capitol of California. See more »
Out of unremarkable plot material Kwan has elicited a portrayal of emotions of incredible subtlety and gentleness from his actors
It has an overall feel of an Eric Rohmer film, the portrayal of the reality of emotion and connection in the stark environment of modern Beijing and Chinese society is a feat of amazing subtlety.
Perhaps incomprehensible to people in a society long open, the stark contrast between the comfort of rare privilege and emotional squalor and the material squalor of the young student/architect and emotional richness there goes beyond the triteness the another user accuses this material of.
I am fairly jaded westerner moved to emotional resonance, (certainly not the result of the melodramatic ending I could have done without.)
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