Hailed by NEWSWEEK as one of the best films of 2002, Stanley Kwan's groundbreaking, beautifully filmed adaptation of an anonymously published internet novel, Lan Yu is set against the Tiananmen Square uprising. Lan Yu te... more »lls the story of a young, gay architecture student and his ongoing relationship with an older, successful businessman. The handsome playboy-businessman must choose between his comfortable, yet closeted life in the straight world, or an honest, yet subversive life with the student. Lan Yu was selected in the opening/closing night slots for the San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles Gay Film Festivals inn 2002, as well as playing at the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, and Toronto Film Festival.« less
"LAN YU is a beautifully filmed, impressionistic look at a human dilemma: not recognizing what you really want until it's too late. Director Stanley Kwan has made an intelligent film that conveys genuine emotion without theatricality. There is much that rings true in this story for gay men, or anyone, of any age. Based on an incredibly popular 'E-novel' from an anonymous author, Jimmy Ngai's screenplay strikes many true chords and, along with a well-realized mise-en-scene, creates a completely believeable world.Casting seems ideal. Thirty-something Hangdong is played with great range by Jun Hu, and he looks convincing in the part as well. Playing Lan Yu, who ages from late teens into twenties, is remarkable Ye Liu. The men meet as part of a transaction: money for sex, paid by wealthy Hangdong. The sex scenes are presented with honesty, sensuality and without ambiguity. Yet, early on, it becomes clear to both that more is going on than physicality. For a short time, they pursue a relationship. Then everything is altered by choices made by one of the men. The main part of the film, told as a memory, is the playing out of the consequences of his choice. If these characters were heterosexual, the film's plot might be dismissed as hackneyed. But with the added dynamic of male/male relations in a homophobic world and with Kwan's dream-like, often poetic directing style, we have something ultimately original and worth experiencing.The film is presented letterboxed on the DVD and it looks very good. The often rich textures of the image come across beautifully. Also on the disc: a video interview with the director and four trailers for other gay-interest films.LAN YU has real emotional impact and sensuality. It deserves a wide audience."
An incredible Chinese love story....between two men!
Daryl B | Nashville, Tennessee United States | 09/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't expect the emotional involvement that I developed during this film. The only other Chinese directed film I've watched involving a love story between two men was "The Wedding Banquet", which I enjoyed tremendously. This movie, however, I bought on a whim and it payed off! The story centers around a young architecture student who begins an affair with an older ,successful business man. Lan Yu, the student, is wooed with dinners, money and many superficial things (none of which are important to him) but eventually has his heart broken by Hangdong, who can't commit to a relationship that he thinks will never last. He feels that he must commit to a proper marriage with a woman, and after meeting a smart, beautiful woman that fits the bill as the perfect wife, he marries her and ends his relationship with Lan Yu. Fate, however, brings the two men together some time later after Hangdong has divorced his wife and the two become lovers again but not before Hangdong's job and personal freedom are threatened. Lan Yu, at this time, proves how deeply he loves Hangdong. I won't go further into detail about what happens from there nor will I give away the ending. "Lan Yu" is a very good movie that people, gay or straight, should see. If you want a really good film, a great date movie, or just a really good love story, buy this film. You will not be disappointed."
ONE OF THE BEST LOVE STORIES EVER!
Daryl B | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just watched this heartbreaking love story. It doesn't matter that it is gay, it is one of those films that reveals how the love of your life can be right in front of you and how you sometimes don't realize it until its too late. The guys are so handsome in this film, it just makes you realize the effect a beautiful love story can have on you!
Don't miss this one, and the DVD is gorgeous!"
A refreshingly unfettered love story
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"LAN YU is another indication that films from China are becoming increasingly poignant, less dependent on spectacle, and certainly more daring in view of the political milieu. Director Stanley Kwan not only has courage to make this poignant film, he has the gifts to create an atmospheric, gentle, quiet, and luminously photographed love story. He draws understated performances from his actors, never stooping to caricature, always respectful of the inherent delicacy of his subject matter.Lan Yu is a handsome young gay architecture student who becomes involved with a closeted Beijing businessman. The affair they pursue is subtle yet not without passion, the kind of understated passion that rings true rather than playing for sensationalism. The plot twists and turns - Lan Yu is set aside by Hangdong for a "proper marriage" which leads to divorce and to other losses, bringing Hangdong back to seek his real love - Lan Yu. The change in their relationship speaks loudly for a wider acceptance of same sex love. To reveal the ending would be a disservice to the viewer. Part of the joy of this simple story is the sensitivity of Hangdong's colleagues in responding to his various dilemmas: there is no "bad guy", no prejudice, no castigation - these friends are committed and make homophobia seem merely a foreign, unimportant word. This film is a model of intelligent and finely crafted story telling. The actors are uniformly excellent and win our hearts. Highly Recommended."
An Unexpected Treat!
email@example.com | San Francisco, California, US | 06/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was my first viewing of a film by director Stanley Kwan. I am impressed by his vision and skillful direction. Hun Ju and Le Yiu (Handong Chen and Lan Yu) are believable as the older, successful businessman, and the young architecture student. Kwan has managed to take what might otherwise be a tawdry, uneventful story and turned it into a captivating and thoroughly entertaining film. The sex is understated, but the chemistry between the two men is convincing nonetheless. I was drawn into the story immediately and captivated until the end. I usually only watch a movie once, especially foreign, subtitled films, but I look forward with anticipation to watching Lan Yu again. A real treat for the avid foreign film addict, don't miss this gem, it is a real (and unexpected) treat!"