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Bishonen
Chinese: 美少年之戀
Daniel Wu and Shu Qi
Year: 1998
Director: Yeung Fan
Producer: Sylvia Chang
Writer: Yeung Fan
Cast: Stephen Fung Tak-Lun, Daniel Wu, Shu Qi, Jason Tsang Chi-Yin, Terence Yin, Kenneth Tsang Kong, Jiu Ngau, Cheung Tat- Ming, Joe Junior, James Wong Jim, Michael Lam Wai-Leung, Paul Fonoroff
  The Skinny: An interesting, beautifully-shot, but also somewhat shallow film from director Yeung Fan that explores homosexuality in Hong Kong.  
   
 
Review
by Kozo:

An official selection to the 1998 Toronto Film Festival, this art-house film from celebrated photographer Yeung Fan is a gay love story of the most emotionally involved kind. Stephen Fung is Jet, a male hustler who approaches his job with the demeanor and style of a professional. All that is thrown out the window when he falls for Sam (Daniel Wu), a seemingly straight cop with a beautiful girlfriend (Shu Qi, in a short cameo).

Enchanted by Samís beauty and quiet grace, he draws closer to him. He doesnít mean to deceive Sam about his sexuality but heís powerless to walk away from him. Little does he know that Sam has secrets of his own, which involve Jetís colleague Ching (Jason Tsang) as well as a teen-idol pop star named K.S. (Terence Yin). You guessed it: theyíre all gay. 

Lusciously filmed, this is an interesting film that grew from an actual HK scandal about a famous photographer/playboy who was discovered to have a large cache of sexy photos - featuring young men dressed (or undressed) as policemen. That story is fictionalized as the story of Gucci (Joe Junior) who has shots of Sam and Ching in his collection. 

The reality-based component of the film is only a small portion; what Yeung Fan does here is extrapolate from that incident to create an intertwined net of stories. This is a movie ultimately about how these beautiful young men deal with love and sexuality. In Jetís case, itís a matter of lust versus love. Self-confident and preening (attributes readily displayed by Stephen Fung), Jet only loses his power when he falls under Samís spell. On the other hand, Sam is constantly in control - or so it seems. Eventually he gives into emotion, too, and the results prove disastrous. Daniel Wuís opaque performance is the center of the film, and itís most effective considering much hinges on his next move.

Still, the film doesnít do much more than provide a glossy exploration of a HKís gay lifestyle. Despite all the filmís positives, you never get the sense that thereís more than whatís happening on the screen. The writing and direction lends itself to a frigid beauty that carries over to the film's emotional impact; you might find yourself unmoved despite Yeung Fan's best efforts. Ultimately, this is a gay movie perhaps best enjoyed by women, as each of the men is exceptionally beautiful to an almost maddening degree. (Kozo 1999)

   
 
Availability: DVD
Region 0 NTSC
Far Sun
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
 

image courtesy of Far Sun Film Co., Ltd.

   
 
 
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