Fish & Elephant

  • 106'
  • China
  • 2001
The three central characters in this film are young lesbian women. It was made with an entirely nonprofessional cast and has a tangible gust of reality blowing through it.Qun works as an elephant keeper at Beijing Zoo while her new lover Ling runs a small clothes stall in an indoor market. Their relationship is cool and seems potentially stable, but it soon meets two serious challenges. First, the arrival of Qun's divorced mother, who has no idea that her daughter is gay and persistently urges her to meet prospective husbands. Second, the appearance of Qun's former girlfriend Junjun, now on the run from the police after killing her abusive father.Nothing here will surprise western viewers already used to straightforward treatments of gay issues, but there is plenty to admire in the way Li integrates the plot and characters into everyday locations and uses surrounding elements to give her scenes an edge. The emotional issues are handled with warmth and conviction, and Li finds both humour and psychological truths in the succession of pointless meetings with wouldbe marriage partners.The scenes at the zoo's elephant house are nothing if not refreshing. But is it true, as they say, that people who keep fish are randier than the rest of us? Tony Rayns
Director
Li Yu
Country of production
China
Production Year
2001
Festival Edition
IFFR 2002
Length
106'
Medium
16mm
Original title
Jin nian xia tian
Language
Mandarin
Producers
Cheng Yong Production, Cheng Yong
Sales
China Film Assist
Screenplay
Li Yu
Editor
Li Yu
Production Design
Wang Nan