So, as today is a Bank Holiday here in Ireland I decided to once again take some time out from the serious and post about something close to my heart. Both of the films I am going to write about are sterling examples of film making. And if you get the chance I strongly suggest you check them out on a lazy day like today.
This 2006 film directed by John Cameron Mitchell could almost be mistaken for a porn film at fist look. However, I believe that is the point. It seems he wanted to show that depictions of hardcore sex can be complimented by a brilliant, well acted and movingly insightful storyline. This film explores many aspects of human sexuality in an unflinching way but more so than that it delves deep into the psyche to show the many ways in which sexuality changes us.
The main characters all have their own struggles to deal with and share a common meeting place, the Shortbus club in New York City. Indeed the film draws on its setting and many native New yorkers will recognize some political satire in the film. The Shortbus club is described as a refuge "for the gifted and challenged" and in this fascinating and intense setting the characters manage to strive to achieve everything they have been hoping for. (Trailer contains spoilers)
This film was one of my most welcome discoveries on television, when I stumbled upon it in the early hours one morning on the Irish national broacaster. Research tells me that the film was made in 2001 in Beijing although without the permission of the Beijing Government. The film deals with the taboo subject of homosexuality in China. The film could (unfairly, but Im doing it anyway) be described as Brokeback Mountain in China as Lan Yu pines for the older Chen Handong who is married and trapped by the normal conventions of the Chinese social system.
Packing a greater emotional punch than Ang Lee's more well known work and with fantastic performances by the two leads Liu Ye (Lan) and Hu Jun (Chen)the film also gives a fascinating insight into the conservative nature of Chinese society even in modern times. It also doesnt shy away from highly politicized content whihc would undoubtedly have landed it in even more trouble with Beijing. I stunning piece of film that is timed to perfection Lan Yu is must for anyone jaded by traditional Hollywood love stories.
If you found this interesting, then you can check out some of my favourite non English language here (Me and Movies)