• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

East Palace, West Palace

Directed by Zhang Yuan. Starring Hu Jun, Si Han. (NR, 90 min.)

Not reviewed at press time. Gay men cruising in a public park -- the sight would be commonplace were it not in Beijing. This film was shot clandestinely and smuggled out of China, where it is forbidden to be shown. It is a dramatic film, not a documentary, by the independent filmmaker, Zhang Yuan, whose films regularly give voice to marginalized characters. “East palace” and “west palace” are the nicknames for the public toilets on either side of the Forbidden City, where police swoop down on the gay men cruising for sex. During a routine roundup, A-Lan, a writer, finds himself drawn to the men in uniforms. The film embarks on a two-man study in sadomasochistic fantasies and the perversion of power -- the powerless man desiring the love of his tormentor. Beyond this film's taboo subject matter of homosexuality, it is also illegal to make a film in China outside the government-sanctioned movie studios. That Zhang managed to complete this film and have it released and admired throughout the world is a resounding blow against the repressiveness of the Chinese regime and a rallying point for the worldwide forces of self-expression.

READ MORE
More Hu Jun Films
Red Cliff
Tens of thousands of arrows darken the sky in John Woo's epic retelling of an ancient Chinese battle.

Marc Savlov, Jan. 22, 2010

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Fantastic Fest Review: <i>The Bad Batch</i>
Fantastic Fest Review: The Bad Batch
Ana Lily Amirpour gets post-apocalyptic with her second feature

Sept. 27, 2016

Fantastic Fest Review: <i>Zoology</i>
Fantastic Fest Review: Zoology
A woman grows a tail in this magic-realist parable

Sept. 26, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

East Palace, West Palace, Zhang Yuan, Hu Jun, Si Han

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)