Cui Zi'en is an extraordinarily productive film maker. He's also very versatile. This is an outspokenly artistic, literary and philosophical film, but with just as much ease he can make a subtle, observing documentary. He has become controversial - and in China notorious - by making films with an explicitly gay theme. He is therefore also described as a gay activist, but he could just as easily be called a writer, because he has no less than nine novels to his name.
His versatility is clearly visible in this special and complex film. A film that is also much closer to art than the usual art-house cinema and therefore has been programmed in New Dragon Inns in the context of other art films.
He himself calls it a visual philosophical essay about human instincts. It focuses on the figure of Xiao Shao who enters into physical and mental relationships with a variety of people. It comes down to carnal lusts, approached from a philosophical point of view. Physical liberation is supposed to be the way to true freedom. He meets the characters Xiao Chao, Nuo Nuo and Mao Mao, who subscribe to his radical views and will enter into relationships with him. They seem to be putting the ideas of the ancient thinkers Lao-tse and Chung-tze into practice, but also seem to be turning their backs on the repressive reality of today's China. (GjZ)