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.
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity and some language
I went to see “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” with a young Chinese man who said to me, as if I didn’t know this, “Of course it has a tragic ending. It’s Chinese!” That awakening, plus seeing the movie in a Chinese filled theatre, taught me something. I rented “Lan Yu” expecting a Chinese movie. I didn’t get one. There were no intense cultural overtones, just references. Mao, Tiannimen Square, Russians, yes. The matriarch’s New Year’s dinner was the closest thing to Chinese culture. But, of course, Beijing and Hong Kong are cosmopolitan. The plot even makes fun of Lan Yu being thrust into the city from the country.
I put this movie in the category of “Parting Glances,” “Steam,” and “Love, Valor, Compassion,” definitely not “Philadelphia.” That’s a high compliment for me. I’ve seen boring, “go for the audience impact” Gay movies. This isn’t one, thank goodness. It’s a love story with the complexity of approach/avoidance conflict, embraced by friends who are straight, even though the story is about Gay love. And it’s about one-sided love, growing love, fearing the loss of love, committment anxiety, and all that, the same as in straight relationships. It has acceptance and tolerance and is totally devoid of sneers from the homophobic thrown in to thicken the plot.
The character development is a little sparse, but actually we learn about them quickly. There’s no long wind up. Skillful! The character depth is what grows. Lan Yu grows. His lover doesn’t, until it’s too late.
The direction and photography were subtly superb. I didn’t catch on until far into the film how good the photography was and placement of the characters. The acting was excellent — or was it their direction?
How interesting that the clearly more submissive character is the stronger one.
Did those who hated this movie notice all of that, or are they jaded? I wouldn’t like to be at a play or movie with them.
Wonderful movie. I cried. I laughed. I’m still feeling it. Very few movies do that to me.
Director: Stanley Kwan
Writer: Jimmy Ngai (screenplay)
Stars: Ye Liu, Jun Hu, Bin Li
Country: Hong Kong | China
Language: Mandarin | Russian
Release Date: 22 November 2001 (Hong Kong)
Also Known As: Histoire d’hommes à Pékin
Format : Matroska
Format version : Version 2
File size : 1.07 GiB
Duration : 1 h 26 min
Overall bit rate : 1 765 kb/s