Ray Yeung’s sad and beautiful drama sensitively shows the genteel oppression of family in contemporary Hong Kong.
Pak (Tai-Bo) is a successful family man, with a taxi business, two children and a long-suffering wife. Everything is not as it could be – his wife Ching (Patra Au) despairs of their daughter’s choice of boyfriend as he is younger than her and not financially secure – but Pak seems content with his lot. Unbeknownst (perhaps) to Ching, he cruises public toilets for hook ups with other men, discreetly of course as being gay is not something that is accepted in conservative Hong Kong.
But then he meets Hoi (Ben Yuen), who is a bit more wordly, a bit more connected to a local community of older gay men although he still has to hide his sexuality from his devout and disapproving son. A friendship and a love grows and we sit quietly on the side lines seeing the many compromises and small tragedies that come from being gay in a culture that won’t let you be who you are.
Yeung is not dogmatic in his messaging, he gives the audience space to contemplate what it might be like to be in Hoi or Ben’s place. Some of the strongest moments are when we listen to Hoi’s friends, a group of older gay men talking about advocating for a gay aged care home. Dior (Wai Keung-Chu) and Chiu (Kong To) give voice to the difficulty of being marginalised. Many are driven to stay silent by the shame it will cause to their families.
The final scenes are delicate and profound and it seems impossible to be unaffected by this quiet and sad story.
Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.