Friday, February 16, 2007

Homosexuality in Asia II-Asian Movies 2006...同志亞洲系列二 -同志電影2006年份...ゲイアジア 二-ゲイ映画2006年...

Post Two of the Gay Trilogy.....

In this post I shall be introducing the host of Asian films which have come out in 2006 with gay content.....the yr 2006 can be said to be a yr of the 'Gay Wave' with films with gay content or theme proving extremely popular as well as critically well received.

Films and the media are one sure way to gauge the extent to which society is ready to accept certain things and if the number of gay movies being produced in East Asia in the past yr is any indication, audiences in Asia, as well as the society in general is clearly becoming more and more receptive of the idea of homosexuality.....what was once a taboo and sensitive topic has now become a boxoffice draw and sure winner of film awards.....below is a summary of the gay themed mainstream films as well as small independent films which have been released in Asia in the past yr in 2006, to the best of my knowledge:

Taiwan:
Taiwan, which has always been the forerunner in gay rights in Asia released 3 films in 2006 which had a gay content. It now appears that any films with gay content is a definite crowd pleaser and awards magnet in Taiwan....and the latest films have continued that tradition. Following on Crystal Boys in 2003 which won awards at the Golden Bell TV Awards as well as formula 17 which won the Best Newcomer Award at Taiwan's Oscar for its main actor, the latest mainstream gay movie, Eternal Summer 盛 夏 光 年 ﹐ did very well at the boxoffices in Taiwan and was also screened in Hong Kong. One of the main actors also won the Best New Comer Awards at the Taiwanese Oscars for his portrayal of a gay man as well. Both the two main actors were nominated at the Taiwanese Golden Horse Awards 金 馬 獎. The film also opened the HK Lesbian and Gay Film Festival last yr.


Eternal Summer 盛 夏 光 年
Official Site (in Chinese) :http://www.wretch.cc/blog/summermovie

Gogo-G Boys: 當 我 們 同 在 一 起

An extremely clever tagline: 男 人 與 男 人 之 間 ﹐ 真 的 有 純 友 誼 嗎 ﹖ 'Is there ever real friendship between men??' (The tagline is refering to the oft-said line that there is never real friendship between men and women﹐ there will always be something sexual ...but they've applied this in a gay context)

A film with Tae, and other pretty well known Taiwanese male actors/models....the fact that well-known male celebrities in Taiwan are not afraid of acting in gay films shows the enormous steps and progress made in terms of acceptance of gays in Taiwan....i mean the actor Zhang Xiao Quan in Eternal Summer has already acted as a gay man in no less than 3 films and TV dramas now...Tae is a Thai-Chinese singer and this is his first feature film i think.


The story is basically Miss Congeniality.......the gay male version. The police receive news that an anti-gay organisation is planning to bomb a gay beauty pageant and decide to send one of their cops undercover to participate in it pretending to be gay. There is just one problem. The cop is not only NOT gay but is a homophobic freak whom dislikes homosexuals. On the other side of town, two guys are the best of friends. As they say, ' they even wear the same underwear growing up'. One is gay and has feelings for the other whilst the other is straight (???) with a girlfriend whom spends like no tomorrow...both decide to enter the beauty pageant contest with the straight guy hoping to win it so as to pay off his gf's debt and maintain their relationship.... Thus starts the adventure with mishaps and beautiful misunderstandings as love blossoms in between and somewhere along....Blog site with trailer and info ( in Chinese): http://blog.xuite.net/tony0224/gboys/7900876





Phillipines:

I didn't know the Filipinos also liked gay themed films until recently....i was kinda surprised given that its a devoutly Catholic country...but it seems gay content films are extremely popular there too judging from the number of gay films released last yr...i'm too lazy to list them all but have a look at the Filipino gay films on offer at the Sydney Gay Lesbian Mardi Gras Film Fest website:http://www.queerscreen.com.au/j/index.php

I will briefly mention Manay Po! which seems to be a mainstream gay movie and judging from the trailer, extremely funny and hilarious too:)...
Synopsis: A riotous comedy and yet a touching tale about love and family, Manay Po tells the story of Luz (Cherry Pie Picache), a small time jeweler who dreams of making it big so as to provide a better life for her family. Her life revolves around her brood of three, namely, Oscar (Polo Ravales), Orson (John Prats) and Orwell (Jiro Manio) and her live-in boyfriend Gerry (Christian Vasquez).
With the help of her good friend and maid Maritess (Giselle Sanchez), Luz was able to raise her children normally despite the absence of a husband.
Or so she thought…
Oscar is a rising architect from a major firm and is betrothed to be married to his girlfriend of five years Pauleen (Glaiza de Castro). Unknown to Luz and everyone else, Oscar is a closet homosexual and is keeping his relationship with engineer best friend Adrian Pengson (Luis Alandy) a secret.
Orson, on the other hand, is openly gay, much to Oscar’s discomfort. He is fun-loving, sweet and engaged in numerous extracurricular activities in school. His one true love is his best friend Marky (Mike Tan), whom he always tries to impress by lavishing him with affection.
Then there’s Orwell – a young teener who is at crossroads with regard to his sexuality. Due to his confusion, rwell pretty much keeps to himself. As such, Luz and his two brothers are clueless about his real identity.
In spite of her children’s questionable sexualities, their family paints a picture of a happy family – a home filled with laughter and unconditional love. Then one day, a family crisis involving stolen jewelry jolts Luz out of her seemingly perfect existence. She decides to keep it a secret from her children, wanting to shield them from any form of worry. With Gerry’s help, Luz tries her best to keep the semblance of normalcy within the household and at the same time keeping the family together.
In the end, revelations come tumbling one after the other and Luz finds herself faced with a decision that will shape the future of her family.
Cast: Cherry Pie Picache, Polo Ravales, John Prats, Jiro Manio, Christian Vasquez, Luis Alandy, Glaiza De Castro, Giselle Sanchez, Mike Tan, LJ Reyes, Theo Bernardos, IC Mendoza


Official website with English trailer: http://www.regalmultimedia.net/manaypo/index.html


There is one scene where like the architect gay son is with his 'bestfriend' Adrian and his girlfriend and she feeds him some stuff and the 'bestfriend' is jealous and spits out what he was eating as a normal reaction...hahaha..sooooo funny....

I really wanna watch this!!!!!! It looks so freaking funny man....

Japan:

4.6 Billion Year Love 46 億年の恋

The famous cult director famous for shocking films such as 'Audition' and 'Visitor' Takashi Miike, has brought a gay film in 2006 called '4.6 Billion Year Love' about the dysfunctional love b/w two inmates in a prison.

Official website with trailer: http://www.cinemart.co.jp/46/ (in Japanese)

BOYS LOVE ボーイズ ラブ

Another gay film from Japan called 'Boy's Love' was also released last yr. Dun know what the story is about but i saw the trailer and didn't really like it.....its on youtube the trailer, just type in 'boys love' .

English synopsis on the Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival Program at: http://www.queerscreen.com.au/j/index.php

Hong Kong:

As far as i know, there were no gay films released in HK last yr...however, i can introduce some famous gay-themed films released in previous years by HK directors....


Lan Yu 藍 宇 (2001):
This swept the Taiwanese Oscars, Golden Horse Award, winning Best Film, Best Actor, Best Director, etc and caused quite a stir for its frank portrayal of the relationship between 2 gay men in 1989, the backdrop being the Tiananmen Square Incident. It is based on the Beijing novel called 'Beijing Story' and directed by the well-known HK director Stanley Kwan. (a gay man himself).
Basically the story is about this young Beijing student whom sleeps with this middle aged guy as he is very poor and needs the money. Thus starts their affair. It goes thru the tumultous time they have with the middle aged guy's unwillingness to be faithful and fooling around with other young men as well as his marriage later with a woman. The story ends in tragedy and i found the ending song so sad.....alas....i think the student shouldn't have gone with the guy but as they say, love is blind...highly recommended if you like tear-jerkers and dramas, like me!


Enter the Phoenix 大 佬 愛 美 麗 (2004):
Another gay production by Jackie Chan's film company JCE (yes, i've realised the world-famous Jackie Chan is pretty supportive of gay themed films,hhhmmm..or maybe he just realises that gay comedies bring in big bucks at the box office...)
The good-looking Daniel Wu (he's already played a gay male in at least 3 other films but he's straight in real life...he's gf is a model) plays a closet gay who's dad is the triad boss. His father is ashamed that his son is gay and sends him off to Thailand ( i think) when hes young. Years later..the father dies and they need him to come bck to 'takeover as leader' or else a fellow triad gang will eliminate their triad....Daniel doesn't wanna be a triad leader and so asks his best friend played by Eason Chan to pretend to be him. They return to Hong Kong and thus starts the fun. Karen Mok is in it too and the funniest scene i found was when she asked him ' Do u have a girlfriend? (Cos she has the hots for Daniel Wu) and he replies 'No..But....i have a boyfriend though'...and u see Karen's face....hehe...
a good comedy for laughs...



Bishonen美 少 年 之 戀 (1998):

And of cos, how can anyone forget THE classic gay Chinese film of all-time....Bishonen. It was only the second mainstream Chinese gay film released in the 9os (the first being the famous Wong Kar-Wai film ' 春 光 乍 泄 ’cast Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung in 1997...that film caused a big stir not only cos it was the first mainstream film with a sole focus on a gay relationship but also because it had two of Hong Kong's top actors playing gay men and a daring gay sex scene in the opening few minutes)

I've introduced this classic, Bishonen, before so to save myself repeating, here's the link to my previous post: ’ http://chinesechic.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_archive.html and scroll down to the Sept 18 post.

The Korean gay films of last yr will be in my 'Gay Korea Column' in my next and final post of the gay trilogy. So look out for it!!

I hope the above highlights of gay themed mainstream movies in Asia has allowed my readers a greater understanding of the level of progress and acceptance the media and audiences in Asia have reached in recent years....

Homosexuality in Asia series (previous posts introducing gay Asian films): http://chinesechic.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_archive.html

So head out and give some of the films a try.....u may just find urself enjoying them *wink*

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh, asian homos, i saw their movies here

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

anon: alright.

Anonymous said...

u should try to look for info about "The Blosooming of Maximo Oliveros," a Filipino indie movie that won a lot of accolades in film fests worldwide last year.

Anonymous said...

u should try to look for info about "The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros," a Filipino indie movie that won a lot of accolades in film fests worldwide last year.

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

anon: I heard bout that film:)

typoprone said...

The endings to Lan Yu and Bishonen both left me feeling crummy and sad. Still, though, they are great movies.

There's a dvdrip of Eternal Summer now floating around online. Have you had a chance to watch it?

Gay-themed Filipino movies are horrible compared to their Chinese counterparts. They're typically heavy in stereotypes and... just don't cover the subject matter in as delicate a manner.

Have you heard of Markova? It's about a man who was a comfort gay to Japanese soldiers during WWII. It's not bad and certainly better than the more mainstream fare like Manay Po! (of which I have a dvdrip and can upload for ya if you'd like!) :)

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

typopron oh my!!!!! a gay 'comfort man' for Japanese soldiers during WWII?!!! I MUST SEE THAT FILM>....THANKS THANKS, i mean given my incredible interest in Japanese warcrimes in Asia and the comfort women system, its interesting to see men being forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers, do u think its based on historical fact cos i have heard somewhere that there were cases of male rape by Japanese soldiers during WW2 (those perverts!P)
Also, i think its true Chinese films have been very progressive in recent yrs their portrayal of gay men beyond the 'sissy effeminate queen' seen in many Thai movies (and in ur knowledge Filipino movies too)
Thanks typoprone for ur recommendation of the 'comfort gay' movie...i'll definitely try to get a copy of the movie:)