Lan Yu

  • 86'
  • Hong Kong
  • 2001
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
Director
Stanley Kwan
Country of production
Hong Kong
Production Year
2001
Festival Edition
IFFR 2002
Length
86'
Medium
35mm
International title
Beijing Story
Language
Mandarin
Producers
Kwan's Creation Workshop, Zhang Yongning
Sales
Celluloid Dreams
Screenplay
Jimmy Ngai
Cast
Zhang Yongning