Shot in secret, this film is a tragic tale of young men struggling to have gay relationships against a backdrop of repression and societal pressure to lead a heterosexual lifestyle, when homosexuality was deemed a psychological disorder in the Chinese mental health authorities.
Wang Ping, who owns a small bookstore in Nanjing, is having an affair with gay man Jiang Cheng behind his wife Lin Xue. The suspicious Lin Xue then entrust Luo Haitao to follow Wang Ping and discovers the whereabouts of Jiang Cheng. Unable to accept the reality, Lin Xue makes a scene at Jiang Cheng’s workplace and forces him to leave her husband, which led the suicide of Wang Ping. At the same time, Luo Haitao, who has a girlfriend called Li Jing that works in a factory, yet develops feelings towards Jiang Cheng while following him. He makes friends with the depressed Jiang Cheng - their relationship gradually becomes intimate. When Jiang Cheng and Luo Haitao and Li Jing go on a trip together, Li finds out the relation between the two and chooses to disappear during the journey. The self-blamed Luo Haitao left Jiang Cheng in a quarrel, and the lonely Jiang Cheng was stabbed by Wang Ping’s desperate wife. After recovering from the injury, Jiang Cheng starts a new life. He tattoos the wounds, opens a clothing store, and lives a quiet and ordinary life with his new boyfriend. In a grey, misty and dusty late spring, Jiang Cheng reads a sombre prose poem by Yu Dafu after making out with his boyfriend.
“Lou Ye’s artistically uneven, emotionally strained but at times sullenly poetic depiction of a sexually confused love pentangle… This film is a considerable improvement as it generates intensity through the extreme intimacy among its minimalist cast (accentuated by restless closeups and deliberately asymmetrical compositions) while offsetting them against an authentic social backdrop.” - The Hollywood Reporter
“It is an opaque, grainy account of homosexual liaisons in modern-day China; a tale of illicit love that is itself illicit (Lou was forced to shoot it in secret, contravening a five-year ban by the Chinese authorities). But it is still an alluring, intriguing film that packs a considerable emotional wallop.” - The Guardian
Dream Factory, Rosem Films