In China, homosexuality isn't illegal, but homosexuals are routinely persecuted by police and arrested for "hooliganism". The film focuses on a young gay writer A-Lan who, being attracted ...
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In China, homosexuality isn't illegal, but homosexuals are routinely persecuted by police and arrested for "hooliganism". The film focuses on a young gay writer A-Lan who, being attracted to a young policeman, manages to have himself interrogated for a whole night. His life-story which he tells during the interrogation reflects the general repression of the Chinese society. The policeman's attitude shifts from the initial revulsion to fascination and, finally, to attraction.Written by
Piotr Zembrowski <email@example.com> (after David Overbey)
In 1997 the Chinese government put director 'Zhang, Yuan' under house arrest and confiscated his passport. His friends smuggled this movie out of the country so it could be shown at the 1997 Cannes film festival. See more »
East Palace, West Palace reminded me somewhat of The Detective, with Frank Sinatra in the role of the cop, and William Windom is the boy. It's a progressive film for China, I guess, but it also perpetuates myths about the femininity of gay men: much is made of Chinese myths in which men take on female roles. The movie focuses on an effeminate man who wants desperately to be dominated and hurt by a macho guy. He cruises the park without fear--he hopes to be taken into the stationhouse by the officer. And that in fact happens. Then he tells the officer his entire life story while being subjected to mild torture: made to squat for a period of time, handcuffed, slapped. This is what the gay man wants, and, implicitly, the gay man is challenging the cop's self-image as a manly man. The story's about the gay man's life (which include flashbacks) are tolerable, but when he starts describing old Chinese myths and dramatic works, the movie becomes unbearable. It becomes a cry of pity for China's gays, who only want to fulfill a traditional role in Chinese society. Sorry, I can't relate.
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