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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Francisco J. Lombardi
Hired to spy on a philandering husband, Luo Haitao soon becomes entangled in a clandestine affair with the other man. Along with Luo's girlfriend, they succumb to the delirium of drunken nights, but how long can their tryst last?
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 »
It's my second time watching this film, the first time was almost 10 years ago. Still this gay- theme film remains to be shocking and controversial at the same times.
For the pros, I love its poetic atmosphere from its cinematography, lightning arrangement and the limited setting made it close to a play; and theme-aside, Yuan Zhang's directional abilities continue to surface from this film, the main scene is a small police office in Beijing where there is a fierce confrontation between a camp gay writer and a night-patrol policeman, which narrates the story of the life of the gay man. Usually I feel antipathetic against groups stereotyping as in this case, not every gay is campy, nevertheless in the film with its narrative novelty, it evolves into something could be perceive as some kind of funny performance art.
For the cons, the intrusions of Chinese opera are functionally essential but visually redundant. Judging from the conversations (especially from the policeman, a boring performance from Jun Hu), the director stands firmly as an outsider with some detectable mocking attitude, which damages the visceral influence to some extent.
A Chinese film explicit exploring of gay world in 1996 itself could be concluded as a both adventurous and smart strategy, although I don't like the film as a whole, it did help Yuan Zhang establish his status as an avant-garde Chinese director, who later films like GREEN TEA (2003), I Love You (2003) and Little Red Flowers (2006) are more mainstream and carry his own trademark, a superior feeling towards his objects (un unmarried master-degree female, the monomaniac struggle between a young married couple, the kindergarten children respectively).
P.S. - The film is adapted from a short story by the late Chinese novelist Xiaobo Wang, which I haven't read yet.
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