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Movie Review: Lan Yu

Story: Here's a bulletin! There are homosexuals in China! Apparently this is an unauthorized, never to be released in China, film by Hong Kong born director, Stanley Kwan (Rouge, Red Rose, White Rose) and is groundbreaking material for that part of the world. They must have been working with a small budget (you could hear them turning off the light bulbs), and the film has a homemade grainy feel.

The story takes place over many years (which at first is a little confusing). If you don't know anything about China's political history of late (such as Tiananmen Square in 1989) you will be even more confused. But then again...you probably wouldn't be seeing this film in the first place.

An older wealthy man seduces a male college student and their relationship continues, on and off for the next 12 years. It is basically a regular old love story but for China, this is big stuff to see on the screen. If you are a foreign film addict, like me, you will enjoy seeing China portrayed in this modern view. There are no rice paddies to be seen in this flick.

Acting: The two main characters, Hu Jun and Liu Ye were believable and very interesting to watch.

Critters: It was too dark to see any critters if there were any.

Food: But, of course. Included were lots of noodles and vegetable dishes. There was an awful lot of smoking which has nothing to do with food...but it is oral.

Visual Art: Again...too dark to see anything clearly that was displayed on the walls. The only art that I spotted were some Japanese prints in a restaurant.

Blatant Product Placement: Coca Cola was mentioned but not seen and the younger character had on Nike shorts...I spotted the little swoosh.

Soundtrack: I don't remember any music at all.

Opening Titles: Not memorable. But we did sit through the end credits, for some reason, even thought they were all in Chinese. It was too hot outside to rush out of the theater.

Theater Audience: A few foreign film buffs escaping these NYC dog days of August.

Predictability Level: I had not a clue what was going to happen and objected strongly to the film's end.

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: I HATED the ending. I thought it was cowardly.

Big Screen or Rental: Who cares?

Length: 90 minutes.

LOBO HOWLS: a generous 5