Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jun Hee Lee, Raymond Ma, Julia Nickson, Kevin Kleinberg, Jerry Hernandez
Director: Quentin Lee
Genres: Drama, Gay & Lesbian, Mystery & Suspense
Booted out of his house for being gay, Ethan Mao, 18, survives on the street as a hustler selling sex to older men. He meets Remigio, 19, a drug dealer and hustler, who befriends Ethan and takes him in. After being tipped ... more »
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An Asian Boy's Own Story
Ryan Chau | City of Angels, CA, USA | 08/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Remember Edmund White's classic gay novel "A Boy's Own Story"? This is definitely "An Asian Boy's Own Story" for a queer Asian boy like me.
I've heard quite a lot about the film since its premiere at the AFI Film Festival but never gotten a chance to see it until its very short theatrical release in L.A. I literally caught the last showing of the film, and I was very touched by it.
First off, there have not really been a feature made by, about and for gay Asian Americans. "Ethan Mao" is pioneering in that way. Really it is the first gay Asian American feature, discounting those about Asians or Asian immigrants like "The Wedding Banquet."
What I love about "Ethan Mao" is that it's a rebel story which everyone would identify with. It's a story about a rebel coming to terms with his family through a very radical perspective. At the same time, it's also a poignant coming-of-age story about a queer Asian boy.
Hot, Queer and Fresh!!!
Jaye Hernandez | NYC, New York | 08/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just saw ETHAN MAO at Laemmle's Fairfax this past weekend and thought it was an amazing movie. For young queer teenagers of color, we rarely get to see ourselves on the screen. Beyond representation, the movie is uncompromising in a way to present a bold vision that shatters the typical boring representation of ethnic minorities.
ETHAN MAO is a call to arms... to all gay teenagers... be a rebel and stand up against those who oppress you!
And both Jun Hee Lee and Jerry Hernandez are hot. Jun Hee Lee has already been cast in the upcoming AMERICAN PIE sequel. ETHAN MAO is hot fresh and queer... so beware!"
A Refreshingly Different Story That Makes Many Meaningful St
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Quentin Lee is to be congratulated for taking on several controversial issues and blending them into a novel story that works on many levels. While many writers and directors of Indie gay films focus on the downtrodden, bleak, tragic aspect of young gay lads coming to grips with their lives, few have presented stories that emphasize an element of redemption based on courage to change those things that can be changed.
Ethan Mao (Jun Hee Lee) is an 18-year-old Chinese American boy who has been working (gratis) for his father Abe (Raymond Ma) all his life in their Chinese restaurant. One evening at closing time a young man enters the negligently unlocked door and robs Ethan's cash register at gunpoint. Abe enters form the back of the restaurant and kills the robber, much to Ethan's chagrin. This results in an angry confrontation (one of many in an Asian family where the children are supposed to always obey the parents). Ethan is still mourning the loss of his mother and loathes his stepmother Sarah (Julia Nickson-Soul), a would-be actress who married Abe for money, bringing along her own son Josh (Kevin Kleinberg), a bright young man of obvious mixed genetic pool. Ethan also has a younger brother Noel (David Tran) with whom he has a warm and strong bond. Sarah discovers a gay magazine in Ethan's room, shares this with Abe, and Abe throws Ethan out of his home for being gay and shaming his family.
Ethan, bitter, homeless and without money, begins a life a street hustler, accepting his passive sexual role with older johns as a means of income. Serendipitously he meets Remigio (Jerry Hernandez), a fellow hustler and minor drug dealer who understands the life of an orphan's loneliness, and befriends Ethan and offers him shelter and affection. Ethan decides to return to his home on Thanksgiving (knowing that his family always goes out of town on that day) to take his belongings and get some cash. Remigio accompanies him and what begins as a simple entry into Ethan's empty home results in disaster as his family returns for a forgotten gift. Ethan rages against them and decides to hold them hostage until morning when Abe can send Sarah to the bank to retrieve Ethan's mother's necklace - the only memento he has of her. The crux of the story is how this tangled 'family' comes to different levels of understanding under duress and how Ethan (through this dream vs reality incident) arrives at forgiveness and finds love with the ever-supportive Remigio.
The acting is mixed but the cast engages us and allows each chracter to morph into something better than we expect. Both Jun Hee Lee and Jerry Hernandez bring credibility to their roles and the result is a palpable relationship which touches the viewers' hearts. While there are rough spots in camera work, in script, and in production, this is a strong little Indie film with a lot to say, dealing with positive images and debunking old prejudicial thoughts about sectors of society miscegenating into the fabric that makes our population more tolerant. Grady Harp, September 05"
David | England | 09/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As one of the other reviews was so scathing in its contempt for this "bad, bad" movie, I nearly did not buy it. In the end I decided to waste my money anyway - and do not regret a single cent of it. This is a good movie and the viewer is soon drawn to the two main characters. You want them to make it through, but you know they won't. The odds are all against them - or are they? It's indy, it's low budget, it has a cast of unknowns (at least, to Europeans). None of that matters; it's a jewel dropped in the gutter and it shines through. Good work from the whole cast, but especially from Jun Lee, Jerry Hernandez and David Tran."