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 ... See full summary »
Steamy Thai nights provide the backdrop for unbridled romance, crime and action as two men unexpectedly brave forbidden love. Maek, a cold assassin-for-hire, is sent to knock off Iht, a ... See full summary »
Jun arrives in Hong Kong from mainland China, hoping to be able to earn enough money to marry his girlfriend back home. He meets the streetwise Qiao and they become friends. As friendship ... See full summary »
Foon escapes an arranged marriage by walking the road of a Ji Sor. After an affair with Shing, she becomes pregnant. An attempted abortion nearly costs Foon her life. Wan, the young owner ... See full summary »
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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Director Stanley Kwan auditioned more than 100 actors in both China and Hong Kong for two months, finally deciding on Ye Liu based on a photo given by Liu's assistant director from his debut _Postmen in the Mountains (1999)_. 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 »
the way this story is filmed is anything but ordinary
Locally, this film played to mixed critical reviews, but I am absolutely enamored by Stanley Kwan's brilliant, understated film style. While LAN YU is a fairly ordinary love story, a rich man falls for a younger, more humble male novice from the country, and what was supposed to be a one night stand turns out to be the subject of this 9 year film exploration, taken from the popular e-novel BEIJING STORY released anonymously on the Internet in 1996, and while one would believe that this story has been told over and over again in nearly every culture, the way that this story is filmed is anything but ordinary. Stanley Kwan is simply a superb director, visually stunning with layers of rich texture, subtle with very dark interiors, extremely detailed with only glimpses of color, a slow measured pace that examines the psychological inner needs of these characters, both of whom are superb in this film, Jun Hu as the older businessman and especially Liu Ye as the younger character of Lan Yu. The obvious comparisons would be Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung in Wong Kar-wei's HAPPY TOGETHER, which has much more razzle dazzle and high energy than this film, or perhaps Leslie Cheung and Fengyi Zhang in Chen Kaige's FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE, which has a much more broad and epic subject matter. Here the film confines itself to two men almost exclusively, and their screen chemistry IS the film, as how they react and what they have to say to one another is remarkably moving in it's brevity as well as it's honesty. I found the last half of Hou Hsiao-hsien's 2001 film MILLENNIUM MAMBO was very much in the style of Stanley Kwan, the energy simply stops and the film crawls into a ghost-like crevasse, a mind-numbing, desolate despair, while LAN YU, also filmed in 2001, adds Hou's ritual of letting his camera hover over a festive table of people eating and catching the power of human interplay in their most ordinary moments. My chief complaint is how the ending misses the mark. Maybe I'm missing something here, but the entire film builds to an emotional intensity that simply dissipates, like letting the air out of a balloon, and I, for one, was disappointed. Again, while a simple story, this film has extraordinary emotional complexity which makes this one of the best films I've seen this year.
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