Tuesday, May 04, 2010

There's Never Been a Better Time to be Gay in Asia..in the media, that is..

Above: The Poster of 'Hello My Love' Korean movie, released late 2009.

These are just some links and updates on gays in the media in Asia...my usual 'gay news around Asia' update...been months since i posted anything 'gay'..haha..anyways, as the winds of change continue to blow in the Western world with gay marriage now legal in Mexico City and Washington DC, as well as more and more mainstream gay characters whom are diverse on tv such as 'Glee', Asia hasn't fallen behind.

In Taiwan, TV Shows continue to have regular segments dealing with the gay topic, for instance, in this following talk show on parents and their children, whereby all the children shown are mostly gays (Taiwanese have become accustomed to seeing openly gay ppl in the media since the early 2000s..not only celebrities, but many ordinary gay ppl go on talk shows without hiding themselves..), what was incredible about this talkshow was that the host, a respected middle-aged former News Broadcaster, was very fair and pro-gay rights..usually for various episodes of the show, he would try to be a neutral arbitrator on topics but in this episode on having gay children, he was incredibly pro-gay and even going so far as to literally persuade the parents to accept gay children....link in mandarin on youtube here:

Another show discussed gays dealing with a disabled gay man and his partner whom is not disabled and how their families have come to accept their relationship including the elderly Taiwanese Ah-Ma (Grannie). As you can tell, Taiwanese are pretty progressive and the tv shows have expanded to include diverse topics even within the topic of gays such as disabled gays and their love lives.

Korea and Gays in the Media:

Even conservative Korea, which is the most backwards when it comes to things like women's rights and gay rights as compared to China and Japan and Hong Kong, has improved markedly in recent yrs, in terms of media coverage and exposure..besides earlier gay Korean films which I have covered before on this blog, there have been more gay films just coming out in 2009 and 2010. I won't repeat previous well-known ones such as 'Antique Bakery' and 'Frozen Flower' which i have mentioned before but there's a small independent film called 'Just friends?' link here:

And another film which I just discovered online out of the blue and it was a surprising find..within the first 20 mins of the movie, i knew it was one of the best korean gay films i had seen..it came out in late 2009, however there were 3 major flaws towards the middle-end of the film which led it down but overall i really really like the aesthetic and overall feel of the movie. It was a movie which had parts and characters which I'd feel i would have expressed if I were ever to make a gay themed film but this film has done part of it for me (excluding the flawed bits). I love the actors and actress in it (they all look gorgeous and fit their roles perfectly) and the settings for many scenes such as the traditional korean house and making a wine restaurant in it was perfect as well as the beach scene...the twist and radio dj premise was also fantastic...the full movie WITH ENG SUBS (YEAAAHHH!!!) on youtube here:

Now, for the flaws, SPOILERS AHEAD, Highlight to read:

1) I didn't like the fact that the female protagonist slept with her bf's boyfriend..i could understand why she did it, to destroy their relationship so she could have her bf bck cos ppl can be irrational when they're in love and in fear of losing their loved ones but the fact that the gay lover responded and they ended up having sex was ridiculous and doesn't make sense.

2) Why did the gay lover leave after the party incident? Also how did the French ex-lover of the gay lover know their house to show up? Big storyline mishap...

3) When her boyfriend leaves to find his gay lover in the end, why did they not end up together again?! It doesn't make sense, esp you see the gay lover with the French guy many yrs later hinting they got bck together in the end which again doesn't make sense given that earlier on at the party, it was shown that the gay lover didn't love his ex-French boyfriend anymore and wanted to break it off, so why did they end up together again?! Major spoil of the plotline..the very ending of the movie of the three of them on the beach was great though (the woman and her now ex-boyfriend with his now ex-boyfriend..haha) and the movie definitely has some great scenes and quirky lines/scenes...good gay korean-themed film overall..

Another milestone is that the first Korean drama to portray a main gay character started earlier this year called 'Life is Beautiful'. It is the first time in a Korean drama to portray a gay person as a main character and deal with their love life as well as feelings and challenges of being gay in Korea. Previous Tv shows have only hinted or put gay characters as cameos or at best in one or two dramas as a side character without a romantic storyline and basically no touching on the realities of being gay in Korea. This is the first time and written by a famous veteran female writer of Korean dramas known for her high-ratings in drama. The character is called Taesub and he is a kind man whom is also a doctor. He has been going out with some girls and always ends up breaking up with them. The drama starts with him finally coming to terms with his homosexuality and his new relationship with another gay man whom is divorced with a child after being outed after his marriage thru a mishap. Some links in Korean on youtube of their storyline (this is a 50 episode family drama and has multiple storylines, the gay one is merely one of them but apparently according to news reports, the online website attracts 80% plus comments on this gay storyline and the TV station broadcasting the show gets complaintsfrom viewers every day against the gay storyline, however, the writer has said she will continue to deal with the gay plotline in a positive and neutral manner and she was surprised the backlash wasn't as great as she thought it'd be) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZAVxTPZ1n0

Hong Kong:
Hong Kong has seen numerous gay independent films in recent yrs, none of which has attracted my attention, but just for ppl interested, these two came out last yr, out of 4-5 gay hk films, trailers here:

2)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNcRx2ScIPY (this is director scud's second gay trilogy, his films often have quite big budgets, despite being independent productions, showing that obviously there are production companies willing to invest in hong kong gay films and believe there is a market for it in recent years.)
And to end, i'd like to introduce something completely unrelated to this topic, being on straight love...i'm still on filipino fever, and here's a new movie i can't wait to see, it has a Malaysian theme, cos they keep saying 'Petronas Towers' and has JLC and Bea Alonzo..they look so cute together..trailer here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Z3cz3W0YrY
haha, how did i start with a post on the topic of gay love and end with a link on straight love?! Hahaha...


YTSL said...

Am not sure that this year beats 1997 in terms of vintage years though -- that being the year in which "Happy Together", "Intimates" and "A Queer Story" -- among others -- were released in Hong Kong cinemas... ;)

hcpen said...

YTSL: Oh yes, definitely, Chinese cinema has always been way ahead..i was talking in terms of the general situation in Asia..as you know, back in 1997, only Chinese cinema was dealing with the issue of homosexuality so positively and with all the big names, other Asian and even Hollywood productions weren't as forward and as advanced as HK/Chinese cinema. So you're right on vintage yrs.