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 ...
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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 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 <email@example.com>
Ye Liu and Jun Hu worked on their rapport only four times before production, playing basketball (of which Liu at 6-foot-1 was a star player at school) and dining. They spent time with their respective girlfriend and wife present, to clarify their romance will only be fictional. 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 »
Drawn from a novel anonymously posted on the Internet, Stanley Kwan's admirably audacious gay-themed Chinese film was filmed in China without the approval of officials, who surely would have been less than consenting to sanction the filming of a script which included frontal male nudity, sexually straightforward dialogue and allusions to Tiananmen Square and unethical businessmen.
As the second most populous country moves more into the realm of capitalism, homosexuality is still underground, yet in the bar favored by Handong, the central character, for shooting pool and picking up boys things appear more or less on the face. He picks up a country lad, architectural student Lan Yu who needs money to bankroll his education and welcomes Handong's overture just for the money until as expected he discovers that he too is gay, falls in love with the urbane exec, and gets dumped. Dumped, until, naturally, there is an about-face in Handong's situation which backpedals the roles.
The movie, set in Beijing in the late 1980s and early 1990s, is opulently crafted, but it is also more or less superficial and creatively stilted. Hu and Liu lay consistent, realistic performances at our feet that glimmer with grief, yearning and sentiment, but their characters feel skin deep, and the film will in all probably prevail in appeal almost exclusively to its target gay audience. The very elementary story appears too obtuse and the progression of the narrative essentially optional. For a film as concise as 86 minutes, this is considerably tardy material.
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