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Lan Yu (2001)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  22 November 2001 (Hong Kong)
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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 ... See full summary »



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11 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
Lan Yu
Chen Handong
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bin Li
Huatong Li ...
Liu Zheng
Shuang Li ...
Fang Lu ...
Jin Su ...
Lin Jingping
Shaohua Zhang ...
Niu Ma
Yongning Zhang ...
Minfen Zhao ...
Handong's mother


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 Strand Releasing <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity and some language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:





Release Date:

22 November 2001 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Histoire d'hommes à Pékin  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,838 (USA) (12 July 2002)


$116,192 (USA) (13 June 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema)

Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


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 »

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User Reviews

A Refreshingly Unfettered Love Story
26 June 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

LAN YU is another indication that films from China are becoming increasingly more poignant, less dependent on spectacle, and certainly more daring in view of the political milieu. Director Stanley Kwan not only has courage to make this poignant film, he also has the gifts to create an atmospheric, gentle, quiet, and luminously photographed love story. He draws understated performances from his actors, never stooping to caricature, always respectful of the inherent delicacy of his subject matter. Lan Yu is a handsome young gay architecture student who becomes involved with Hangdong, a closeted Beijing businessman. The affair they pursue is subtle yet not without passion, the kind of understated passion that rings true rather than playing for sensationalism. The plot twists and turns - Lan Yu is set aside by Hangdong for a "proper marriage" which leads to divorce and to other losses, bringing Hangdong back to seek his real love - Lan Yu. The change in their relationship speaks loudly for a wider acceptance of same sex love. To reveal the ending would be a disservice to the viewer. Part of the joy of this simple story is the sensitivity of Hangdong's colleagues in responding to the his various dilemmas: there is no "bad guy", no prejudice, no castigation - these friends are committed and make homophobia seem merely a foreign, unimportant word. This film is a model of restraint and intelligent, finely crafted story telling. The actors are uniformly excellent and win our hearts. Highly Recommended!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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