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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
3 February 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lan Yu is a very touching movie. It is a tragic love story between two men, one businessman and a university student. In the film, the businessman tried to become heterosexual by marrying a girl that she hope she can love, but in the end it did not work. They divorced, and he went back to Lan Yu, the university student. However, Lan Yu soon died afterwards in an accident.

For me, I feel that the film is very emotional. The feelings of the characters in the film can be conveyed to the spectators. When the businessman was arrested, Lan Yu went to help him straight away. It showed the love and care between the two people. When Lan Yu died just after the businessman was released from jail, the businessman was very upset. I think that the spectators can also feel the sadness. In the end of the film they played the Mandarin song "how can you let me feel sad" in its entirety. I think this is very effective in communicating the sorrow of the businessman. The lyrics suited the situation completely.

However, I think that the film can be made a little longer. I think that they should explain some more details about their lives, such as how unhappy the businessman was when he was married, and how he missed Lan Yu. How Lan Yu obtained 3 million Yuan can also be explained in more detail. Why Lan Yu died can also be elaborated.

In summary, I think this film is a very good film, and can make people understand that homosexuals are also normal people.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good & honest

Author: shaid from Amsterdam, The Netherlands
12 February 2002

Portraying Gay & Gay couples in film has gone long since early days when we were ignored or treated as problem that should be solved. It is nice to see a film that although come from a traditional country, where Homosexuality is not accepted or tolerated, still manage to portray gay people as normal as any other people. Without been patronizing to its characters. Through the whole film there is not one word of judgment or condemnation which is refreshing. The love story between Handong(Hu Jun), a businessman and Lan Yu(Liu Ye)a student of architecture is shown in the most simple way. The focus is on the story and the characters and both actors in the main lead are doing an excellent job. You relate to them and experience with them in what happens to them. It shame that the ending has much to do with how gay men were portrayed in the 70's & the 80's. But this is a minor complaint from my behalf.

I never read the original story. But the film is good and worth seeing whether you have read the book or not.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Queer As Folk for Chinese speaking world

Author: John Frame ( from Brisbane, Australia
29 August 2001

Throughout the Western world, the television broadcast and DVD/video release of the Queer As Folk series is considered to be a pivotal element in changing public perceptions of homosexuality.

The film version of China's most popular modern (and Internet based) novel, Lan Yu, may well bring the same change to much of Asia. Lan Yu is filmed and set in modern Beijing – it's the story of a wordly-wise businessman Hangdong who finds true love with Lan Yu, the student activist he thought was a "one night stand".

Covering a 9 year period in which their love is tested by separation, financial stress, cultural pressures and relationship problems, "Lan Yu" shows how compelling and real a same-sex loving relationship can be.

The actors are superb, Stanley Kwan's direction is entertaining and beautiful and Jimmy Gnai's screenplay presents an uncomplicated easily accessible narrative.

The following is a brief excerpt from my interview with Stanley Kwan in Brisbane in July 2001:

JF: We had the pleasure of seeing your film Lan Yu here last night as part of the Brisbane International Film Festival and it's a very honest portrayal of how men can love each other. You must be happy with the film?

SK: I'm quite happy – especially as I said last night, that this is the first time I've worked with a major Beijing film crew and I found the process very exciting and you know there are lots of efficient and talented crew members and actors in Beijing. So it was just a wonderful experience and during the shooting I found that they were also very devoted to the story – the emotion, the relationship of the characters. So I think somehow the final product I'm quite satisfied with, and part of the reason is that the whole crew were really devoted to it.

JF: The story that "Lan Yu" is based on is being represented as perhaps the most widely read Chinese novel – and it's an electronic novel, it exists only on the Internet. Because that story is so popular, do you expect that when Lan Yu is released on DVD, that it will be watched throughout mainland China - even if it doesn't ever get to be in the cinema?

SK: I think theatrical release is still impossible. From "day one" the financier and producer knew that. With this subject we thought there is no way that we can release the film in theatres in Mainland China. But we believe that the film's second life, the DVD market or the videotape market – that would be large in Mainland, because you know we set up a website for Lan Yu on the Internet and the audience response was excellent. So we are going to distribute the DVD, the VCD or videotape in Mainland on our own - and not particularly because of the money. We've made this film adapted from this popular novel and we would like that the product can be shown to most of the (potential) audience – especially the gay people, they are really longing for that.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Disjointed Fluff Lite

Author: Matthew-Barison
2 August 2002

I really wanted to like this movie. The actors are good looking, honest and real, and the very fact that it is a Chinese film is intriguing. However well intentioned this film was, I believe that it fell quite short of its mark.

The story is of two guys who have a relationship; there is not much new here. Although there are some wonderful uses of interesting camera angles and a decided lack of score, Lan Yu was not able to unify these elements into an effective picture.

Don't get me wrong, however, the film was quite interesting. But when I left I felt cheated; the ending is a huge disappointment, and the entire intermittent narrative voice is really unnecessary. Although well intentioned, this film gyrates between excess sentimentality (Chinese film style,) and touching humor; although some movies can pull these two strains together, this one could not.

Whereas other reviewers have stated a great emotional complexity, I caught no such vibe from either of the main characters. Unfortunately, I really did not care that much about either of them, and was unable to believe that their love was as great as they both proclaimed at various times. Although sweet, this movie was really just fluff lite.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Well intentioned, but overall a moderate film.

Author: fingershop from United States
20 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On the plus side, the acting was good, and the film created some lovely moods within a number of scenes, though these were mostly cut short just when getting good.

On the minus side, the story-telling was disjointed for no apparent artistic purpose, and spent too much time on details that didn't add to the story, and not enough time on details that would. The two main characters seemed to have much more to say. They expressed much love for each other at various times, yet we barely get to see where this love comes from, or why they are endlessly drawn to each other. So much potential wasted here -- tell us more about them! 

Taken on its own, this film is a moderate romantic drama, giving us small slices of life, and nicely detailed. Taken as a gay romance, however, I have to say *ugh*. Why must so many gay romance films end with the love interest dying? Or end with one character realizing they're unable to express that part of themselves? This film came perilously close to fulfilling both of these, instead of just one.

It would be wonderful if gay romances could end on a positive note more often. This is so infrequent in this genre that its as if displaying such a positive ending would be somehow unrealistic. And maybe this is an indication of how a gay romance is perceived in our current world. I look forward to a time when gay romance can be something happy and expected.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

the real thing...

Author: moondog-8 from An American in China
11 October 2006

As someone who has had two or three boyfriends in "The New China", this film is very accurate, not just about gay men in China -- but also about China today with its real estate booms, and banking scandals, and drinking lots of Johnny Walker Black Label if you're rich enough to afford it.

And as someone who has been a professional filmmaker, I think the work is well done. I didn't know that Stanley Kwan cited Sirk and Ozu as influences, but I can see them when I look at this movie. It's got a good narrative pacing and intelligent framing, two qualities I associate with Sirk and Ozu. You can't passively consume this movie; if you try, you'll be bored. But by meditatively viewing this film, there are some good rewards that you will feel by the final fade-out.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

excellent for Art,Society and Gays!!!

Author: googooji from Peking, China
8 December 2001

this movie is based on a story called "Beijing Story".actually,so many people have read this story before.everyone has been affected though many of them r not gays. well,in this movie,the director tries to let everything run as the same as what the story told.we could see the same scence as what we had imagined after we had finished reading the story.the two main actors have performed very well.we have to be affected by their performance again.because of their performance that we could see an excellent movie today. but the most important is that this movie shows people what the relationship between two people who has same gender is and how they face the stress from everywhere to live together. it will help more and more people knowing,understanding and accepting these kind of people. so i have to say that this movie is so excellent!for Art,Society and Gays!!!

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Formulaic, jaded yet honest

Author: taipansmith from Singapore
14 December 2002

The hype created for this film turned out to be somewhat disappointing after actual viewing. There is nothing refreshing, new or exciting about this film. It is rather formulaic and jaded. But the strength of this film lies perhaps in the honesty of the filmmaker in filming the true emotions of Handong (Hu Jun) and Lan Yu (Liu Ye) as they go through the joys of being together and the pain of separation. For a film set in a conservative society where homosexuality is still not tolerated in the mainstream, this film breaks new cultural and social barriers about the subject being a taboo one. Perhaps that is refreshing.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Slow, dull

Author: preppy-3 from United States
14 June 2002

Very talky, dull film following the sexual relationship between two Asian men for a number of years.

The acting is all good (especially by the two leads) and there are some interesting scenes (primarily when the men talk about their relationship), but more often then not, I was bored. Scenes go on endlessly after their points have been made and I quickly got bored. Also the direction is very bad with lots of annoying quick cuts, strange camera angles and way too abrupt editing. At 86 minutes this seemed more like 3 hours. Also it had a totally predictable, tragic ending which I found needless and a little homophobic. Not recommended at all. Avoid.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Stanley Kwan: The thinking man's Randal Kleiser

Author: Jerry Langford ( from los angeles
31 August 2002

I have never understood the Western praise showered on Stanley

Kwan, who was described to me as "the Douglas Sirk of Hong

Kong." Titillating--until you watch ROUGE or ACTRESS. Now that

Kwan is openly gay, he no longer has to put his melodrama in

George Cukor drag: this Beijing-set romance depicts a successful

businessman and a collegiate-aged trick torn up by the love that

dare not speak. The almost incredible triteness of every aspect of

this story, not rendered one jot less stale for its taking place

between two men, stands out in stark contrast against Kwan's

thoughtfulness in composition and in directing actors. There is

nothing original in Kwan's work, but there is a thoroughness,

thoughtfulness, a feeling of the material being fully scrubbed from

top to bottom, that may not have looked like much if LAN YU turned

up in 1972; today, it's quite remarkable. But does Kwan simply

have no sensibility? Does he not realize how dumb the material

is? Or is this a naively hopeful attempt to mainstreamize gay

Chinese cinema? If so, Kwan will see no more success than the

American yupoisie directors who tried this compromise in the


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