Lan Yu by Stanley Kwan
Directed by Stanley Kwan
Hong Kong & China, 2001
Cornerhouse, 24 May 2010
A film devoted to a dead youth and a rising and reborn city.
Kwan’s film is an elegiac love story but it also charts the changes wrought in China during the ‘80s and ‘90s.
When Lan Yu (Ye Liu) meets Chen Handong (Jun Hu), they are immediately attracted to each other. Lan Yu is a boy from the country while Chen Handong is a powerful and capable businessman, a major player in China’s emergence as a world economic power. For a while all goes smoothly, then matters turn serious, a heart is broken, one marries or tries marriage (it doesn’t suit), a heart is again broken (a different one this time) and after these and other travails…
The two leads are terrific (they are great criers, an underappreciated art) and there are some fine scenes, such as the bicycles whooshing past Chen Handong’s car as he rushes to Tiananmen Square where Lan Yu has been demonstrating. Jimmy Ngai is a splendid screenwriter.
It is in the new Beijing that Chen Handong finds traces still of his lost boy (Lan Yu had gone on to work in construction and as an architect), rather like Wordsworth in the Lucy poems.
This was apparently the first UK screening of Stanley Kwan’s film. It was shown as part of the Queer Up North festival.Explore posts in the same categories: Film review comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.