7.1/10
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31 user 27 critic

Lan Yu (2001)

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 »

Director:

Stanley Kwan

Writer:

Jimmy Ngai (screenplay)
14 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ye Liu ... Lan Yu
Jun Hu ... Chen Handong
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bin Li Bin Li
Huatong Li Huatong Li ... Liu Zheng
Shuang Li Shuang Li ... Weidong
Fang Lu ... Yonghong
Jin Su Jin Su ... Lin Jingping
Shaohua Zhang Shaohua Zhang ... Niu Ma
Yongning Zhang Yongning Zhang ... Daning
Minfen Zhao Minfen Zhao ... Handong's mother
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Storyline

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 <strand@strandreleasing.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Official Sites:

GStage (English)

Country:

Hong Kong | China

Language:

Mandarin | Russian

Release Date:

22 November 2001 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Histoire d'hommes à Pékin See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,583, 7 July 2002

Gross USA:

$116,325

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,847,964
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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

 
An Admirably Audacious But Very Elementary Story
21 April 2009 | by jzappaSee all my reviews

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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