32 user 28 critic

Lan Yu (2001)

A young, gay student has a relationship with an older, successful businessman. The handsome playboy-businessman must choose between his comfortable, yet closeted straight life, or an honest, yet subversive life with the student.


Stanley Kwan


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




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


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


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Did You Know?


Director Stanley Kwan auditioned more than 100 actors in both China and Hong Kong for two months, finally deciding on Ye Liu based on a photo given by Liu's assistant director from his debut Postmen in the Mountains (1999). 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 »

User Reviews

Disjointed Fluff Lite
2 August 2002 | by Matthew-BarisonSee all my reviews

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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Hong Kong | China


Mandarin | Russian

Release Date:

22 November 2001 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Histoire d'hommes à Pékin See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,583, 7 July 2002

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


See full technical specs »

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