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Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Ye Lou follows up on his well received (not here) SUMMER PALACE/’06 with another ‘hard-R-rated’ story about sexual wanderlust in the ‘new’ China. The earlier film played up a spurious connection with the Tianeman Square demonstrations to add weight to a couple of decades of heterosexual entanglements. This one takes place in the here & now, with a complicated mix of gay/bi-sexual partners that proves just as spurious. Ye’s female characters don’t offer much comfort, they’re all sullen moods & outbursts of hysteria, no wonder the men turn away. But the new relationships also fall apart, with most of the men turning out to be equally unsympathetic, just quieter. At its occasional best, the film does haphazardly catch a modern disconnect; a new cell-phone generation, and its handheld camera & murky natural light plays into the concept. Especially so amid the forced frivolity Ye uncovers in the demimonde nightclub scene which looked oddly anachronistic in SUMMER PALACE, but perfectly apt here. It’s the rest of the film that doesn’t convince.

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