The quiet clash of two worlds
Yngvar Myrvold | Třnsberg, Norway | 07/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"You don't need flashy direction and big budgets when you have interesting characters, tangible dilemmas, and troubled human relationships. Here is a good example. A quiet love story taking place in Hong Kong between Hugh, a 49 year old professor of English literature and his Chinese student, 19 year old Mark.The two men are from very different worlds. Hugh is a neurotic character, sensing that his life is slipping away from him. He is writing a play about a long-lost love-affair, but can't get it published. This frustrates him no end, and he has problems concentrating on his job at the University. Into his life enters Mark, a polite, intelligent Chinese boy, very Confucian, but he seems more sure of himself. He wants Hugh badly, but Hugh is keeping a distance. The key scene happens near the end, when a failed phone-call proves critical.This film benefits from several viewings. The people grow on you, and what seems like stiff acting is actually restraint, modesty, a reluctance to let themselves go. The good manners of Chinese culture is very much in evidence in Mark and Hugh. Yet, this doesn't retract from the movie, it merely allows you to project you own emotions into the characters. Very Checkovian, you might say.
As for the gay content, expect nothing explicit. But other than that, this is very good indeed. Note: The film lasts 50 minutes."
Two Gay Shorts
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 07/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
""First Love and Other Pains"
Two Gay Shorts
I don't know how I did not review this film from First Run Features but somehow it got past me.
"First Love and Other Pains" centers on Mark (Alex Wong Shing-Yip), a student who takes a course in English literature from British professor Hugh Graham (Edmund Strode). Graham has the reputation of being the strictest professor on campus and he is legendary. Both of Mark's parents are dead and he lives with his aunt and yearns for a father figure. One day he follows Graham and learns that he is also a playwright. He goes to see one of the shows and begins to seek his professor by going to his office and inviting him out for drinks. Graham realizes that Mark is not only a bright student but he lights up his life but when his play is not accepted for production in the United Kingdom, he turns to the bottle to relieve his depression and begins to pick up young men. After one of these encounters, Mark appears at his place and they have sex. Graham does not want a relationship with Mark and tries to dissuade him to stop the relationship. The film iis one of the first from Hong Kong to depict homosexuals positively.
"One of Them" is set in the 1960's and is abouy two teenagers who are struggling with their emotions and sexuality. They gravitate to each other and begin a friendship that is basically built upon talk about fashion design and cruising cute boys. Their small town lives are unbearable to them.
I found both movies to be honest and well done even though they were made on small budgets. You don't need flashy direction and big budgets when you have interesting characters, tangible dilemmas, and troubled human relationships. As for the gay content, expect nothing explicit. But other than that, they are very good indeed.