Monday, October 19, 2009

Queer Cinema in Asia Recommendations 2009..亚洲同志电影推介2009年...2009年のアジアゲイ映画お勧め

In Asia, recent years have seen a flourishing of Gay films in the mainstream media and undoubtedly, Taiwan and the Philippines have led this queer Asian film charge ahead of other countries such as South Korea which have also produced many gay-themed movies...as i said before, I believe in Asia, the most gay-friendly countries are definitely Thailand, the Philippines, and Taiwan. In terms of media coverage, the Philippines definitely comes up on top for its gay-friendly and wide-ranging exposure of gay storylines/characters whilst I'd say Taiwan comes in second in terms of media queer-friendliness.

There's been many gay Filipino films in the past 5 yrs, and this yr there's been many films as well..but i'm only looking forward to 'In my Life' by Philippine's veteran Star 'for all Seasons' Ms. Vilma Santos, one of Filipino Cinema's most recognised and esteemed actresses as well as starring John Lloyd Cruz, the leading Filipino box-office lead currently as well as hunky Luis Manzano!


A Taiwanese film dealing with the same theme of gayness is the film which is produced by veteran and probably THE most famous Taiwanese producer/screenwriter Wu Nien-Jen of the film 'Tou-San' (1994) fame. I'm really looking forward to this film about a colour-blind young girl and her gay cousin living in a small fishing village in rural Taiwan.


Another gay Taiwanese film, Neon Hearts, being an interracial romance between a teenage Swedish boy and a teenage Taiwanese boy, is also coming up this yr, trailer:
Given it's three gay male films to look out for pointed out for this year, lesbians, fret not, there's been many lesbian themed films and i personally like 'Saving Face' made by Taiwanese-American Alice Wu starring Lynn Chen (she's gorgeous!), Michelle Krusiec (i identify alot with her personality), and Joan Chen, whole movie here from 2004: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVVQq9Hkjuk
Also, one of my all-time fav Taiwanese films (note this is not just for the LGBT category but for the Taiwan Film entire category, it's THAT good for me.) which i first saw at the Melbourne In'tl Film Festival bck in the early 2000s and had not much expectation but was overwhelmed by the finishing scene-Blue Gate Crossing. Fan Trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viiPb6z1ues&feature=related
Not to mention, THE BIGGEST NEWS out yet this year, in the HK entertainment industry, ...hold your breaths ppl (for those familiar with Hong Kong's entertainment scene ala 80s/90s)...Vivian Chow, the most celebrated and 'originator' of the term 'Jade Girl' in HK, whom retired from filming in 1996 and was well-known for being THE Jade Girl of the 80s/early 90s is making a comeback to the big-screen! And in a lesbian romantic comedy opp. Sandra Ng (my FAVOURITE HK comedian actress of ALL-TIME) to be funded by Wong Jing and helmed by esteemed award-winning director Ann Hui-On Wah. OH MY GOD. This is BIG. BIG NEWS. Given Vivian Chow's choice of this movie as her comeback movie after a 13 yr hiatus, it shows how much society has changed that a romantic comedy dealing with two lesbians can be made into a commercial mainstream hk flick, and also HK's pre-eminent Jade girl, known for her feminine, good-girl image from the 80's would choose this lesbian romantic comedy as her comeback movie..i can't wait!

Now, whoever said Asia was behind in terms of queer representation in the media and positive images/role characters in its media? I'm constantly doing my part to correct this incorrect perception many Westerners, Asians, and even gay Asians have that somehow or other, Asia is very behind in terms of gay rights, visibility, role models, when it isn't! In certain countries in Asia it is the case (re: Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia,etc) but definitely not in Taiwan and the Philippines, two countries which hold a very special place in my heart!
PS: Update 29/10: Taiwan's Annual Gay Pride Parade, held in Taipei and also Asia's largest gay pride parade, will be held on 31st October 2009. My very best wishes to my compatriot Taiwanese as well as overseas participants whom will be attending (predicted to surpass 20,000 marchers this yr!) . In addition, Discovery Channel Taiwan has decided to broadcast Taiwan's very first Documentary focusing on contemporary gay & lesbian Life in Taiwan and societal/political acceptance and changes in the past decade or so.
(I SOOO wanna see this!! Please record it and put it on youtube and inform me anyone living in Taiwan! Pretty pretty PLEASE?!)

13 comments:

savante said...

Really cool. Only wish the Filipino films would come with subtitles fast!

hcpen said...

Savante: Yea, i know, cool right. There's alot, and i mean, ALOT of gay themed tagalog films, many of them mainstream..and these films have made me appreciate filipino men alot,hehe. Never really noticed filipino guys (or girls!) until fallin in love with filipino popular entertainment. Filipino guys are sexy!

duriandave said...

Thanks for all the trailers!

That Taiwanese film about the color-blind girl is playing in SF at a Taiwan film festival next month. I was already considering seeing it. Judging by the trailer, it looks pretty good.

I'm not really familiar with Vivian Chow, but I'm definitely looking forward to Ann Hui's film. Finally, a lesbian comedy. The last lesbian Chinese film I saw was Butterfly (2004), and after that I decided I didn't really need to see any more tragic lesbian love stories. Glad to see some progress as far as that goes!

hcpen said...

duriandave: I know! No more gay or lesbian tragedies where someone must die or unrequited love...there's actually been a taiwanese gay romantic comedy before, the first one in Chinese cinematic history(besides Ang Lee's Wedding Banquet, and the slew of hk films in the early-mid 90s where the male character inevitably realises he 'really isn't gay' and 'turns straight' in the end *rolls eyes*), trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k9jdQoI86A
Let me know how the color-blind girl film is!

YTSL said...

Hi hcpen --

Your comments re gay/lesbian romantic comedies got me thinking -- you don't consider HE'S A WOMAN, SHE'S A MAN to be one? At the very least, it's gay-themed, right?

hcpen said...

YTSL: Actually, I love that film! But i don't consider it a gay romantic comedy as it's gay 'themed' but not a really true 'gay romantic comedy' as everyone knows it's anita yuen and leslie cheung, and really between a man and a woman. (although very daring and good for its time) So i won't count it as one unless its really two guys or two girls together. But I still love that movie cos it reflected leslie cheung's real life in certain ways.

Chee Wai Lee said...

It's been a loooong time since I last heard anyone speak of Vivian Chow. Just checked the web and she's looking just as good as ever! Am looking forward to her movie with Sandra Ng :).

hcpen said...

Chee Wai Lee: Yeah! Vivian Chow has not aged significantly AT ALL in these 15 years. Th first time i saw her pic 2-3 yrs ago, i was shocked! Cos she looked the same 10 yrs ago too. She looks in her 20s when she's already in her 40s.:-)

SpyMonkey said...

Some good recommendations. Thanks! However you've missed a tremendously good gay movie from Hong Kong called "Jilao sishi" (translate as "Gay Man 40") (English International title "A Queer Story" according to imdb.com) made in 1997. George Lam and Jordan Chan are the stars. I saw it years ago. The story is about a gay man (George Lam) getting to be 40 years old and dealing with coming out, looking for a partner at a mature age, and of course Aids. Very rare to see HK movie talking about the subject in such an open attitude. And even more precious is that it's not a story about pretty teenagers. It's a story about grown up gay men and how they live their lives. Excellent movie. I strongly recommend it.

SpyMonkey said...

But that's my rant in general....how come most of the gay movies produced around the world nowadays are about young gay people coming out? What happen to gay people when they grow old? Their stories seem to get swept under the carpets. Or is it because film-makers are worried that if their movies don't feature pretty young gay people, audience won't go to see them? I'd LOVE to see an Asian movie about mature gay people. I guarantee there are still many good scripts that can be developed from this angle. Just wait and see!

hcpen said...

spymonkey: I have seen it, Gay at Forty. George Lam with Jordan Chan. Actually, I think its the same with straight romances, there's a paucity of older couple stories, if u'd notice. Almost all romances involve good-looking young couples. So i don't think it has anything to do with sexual orientation, rather just what audiences prefer to see (both straight and gay). Thanks for pointing out 'Gay at Forty' though! It was a serious good drama, for its time.

Chris said...

wa... u do research abt it?

hcpen said...

Chris: No lar, just summarise what i know. Hehe..