The gay novel variously known as Someone Likes Lan and Beijing Story began appearing as a serial on the Internet in 1996, inaugurating a form of samizdat publishing new to China. Stanley Kwan's widely acclaimed film version minimises the novel's melodrama, leaves the viewer some space to imagine what happens between scenes and puts the original author's rather prurient interest in sex into a less excitable perspective. When businessman Chen Handong (Hu Jun, the cop in East Palace, West Palace) beds penniless architecture student Lan Yu (newcomer Liu Ye), he thinks of it as one more onenight stand. For the boy, though, it's a lifechanging experience. They meet again and Handong keeps affection at bay by showering the kid with expensive presents. Many other obstacles threaten to derail what is clearly a dream match: Handong's easy promiscuity, Handong's assumption that he should some day marry and breed, Lan Yu's participation in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. But maybe the worst obstacle is blind fate itself...Kwan's matteroffactness in sketching the dynamics of the relationship makes this the most heartening 'gay movie' yet from East Asia. Tony Rayns

International title
Beijing Story
Filmmaker
Stanley Kwan
Premiere
-
Country
Hong Kong
Year
2001
Medium
35mm
Length
86’
Language
Mandarin
Producer
Kwan's Creation Workshop, Zhang Yongning
Sales
Celluloid Dreams
Writer
Jimmy Ngai
Cast
Zhang Yongning