An docudrama about male sex workers in Beijing, descending on parks, nightclubs and other public spaces to interview both real-life "rent boys" and actors posing as prostitutes. Their ...
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An docudrama about male sex workers in Beijing, descending on parks, nightclubs and other public spaces to interview both real-life "rent boys" and actors posing as prostitutes. Their candid confessions provide a peek into Beijing's street hustler culture, touching on common themes like gay rights, class disparities and the pursuit of real romance.Written by
As this film moved along, I was wondering whether it was a genuine documentary or a "mockumentary" of mainland Chinese rent boy street scenes and lifestyle. If I really had to think about that, then the execution in documentary style was well-done, and it doesn't much matter if it was real or not. In any case, IMDb lists this as "Drama" so that answers the question.
Production values are somewhat dim; the atmosphere is dark (in more ways than one!); and the players are properly jaded about their work. There is no real sense of character development; the people are interchangeable. But these are not necessarily negatives, as the lifestyle doesn't promote long-term friendships. The subtitles were somewhat sparse in relation to the amount of talking, but I think they probably captured the true tone.
During the past year or two, several films have come out of China with related themes. These follow the groundbreaking "East Palace, West Palace," "Lan Yu," and "Man Man Woman Woman" (which has various titles). Some of the films in this genre seem stuck in the need to dwell on teenage angst and ennui--in real time, which makes them more than a little boring. This one moves along but could have done with tighter editing and stronger sense of purpose. I'm a little surprised to be the first person to comment on this film. It was OK.
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