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In Mandarin with English subtitles
Director: Lou Ye

Cast: Qin Hao, Cheng Sicheng, Tan Zhuo, Wu Wei, Jiang Jiaqi
RunTime: 1 hr 55 mins
Released By: GV & Festive Films
Rating: R21 (Homosexual Content)
Official Website: http://www.nuitsdivresseprintaniere-lefilm.com/

Opening Day: 18 November 2010


Nanjing, present day, springtime. Wang Ping's wife suspects him of adultery. She hires Luo Haitao to spy on him and discovers that her husband's lover is a man, Jiang Cheng. It's with this man that Luo Haitao and his girlfriend, Li Jing, form a torrid love triangle. For all three, it's the beginning of asphyxiating, sultry nights of physical abandon that exalt the senses. A sulphurous journey into the confines of jealousy and obsessive love.

Movie Review:

Ah, the triumphant feeling of defiance. One filmmaker who knows this sentiment well enough is Chinese writer director Lou Ye, who was banned from filmmaking by the Chinese government for five years as a result of controversy which arose from his previous work Summer Palace (2006). Readers who have watched the film, which was the only Asian film in competition for the 2006 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or, should know what Lou is capable of – the sexual scenes, the social and political commentaries are not what your typical Mainland Chinese movie would have contained.

But defiance and determination made Lou direct his latest work, which was supposedly secretly shot in the city of Nanjing. And lo and behold, when the film made its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May last year, the “Hong Kong/ French co production” won the award for Best Screenplay.

Look where defiance and unconformity can bring you.

The film takes place in 2007 spring, China. The male protagonist is a private investigator who has been hired to spy on another man who is suspected of having an affair. It turns out that the man was having a homosexual affair and things get complicated when the investigator becomes involved with the boyfriend of the man he is spying on.

The title is a term describing common psychological symptoms which occur in the spring season, leading to an increase in energy, vitality and particularly sexual appetite. The literal Chinese title means “a night deeply drunk on the spring breeze”. Both these instances evoke an image of being hopelessly in love, foregoing all sorts of pragmatism and practicality. And how magical is this feeling, as you’d realise from the protagonists’ journey through the 116 minute film.

Of course, as all consumer advisories go, if you are highly uncomfortable with seeing two men hugging each other on screen, you should skip this. There is quite a bit of heavy petting and sexualised scenes throughout the movie, earning it a R21 “Homosexual Content” rating from our friends at the censorship board. Oh, and if you must know, it has also been edited to meet the community standards of Singapore. To look at it from the positive end, we are thankful that it’s not banned.

The notion of a gay husband is probably highly controversial in this part of the world, hence making this film a turn off for the conventional audience. Bring in themes of bisexualism and transvestites and you’d either get viewers who are dying to see what the buzz is about, or common folks who would boycott such audacities in cinema.

Back to the film – Lou knows better than to engage his viewers emotionally through highly stylised production values. His take on the dynamics between the characters is raw but energetic, which is apt for such a socially unacceptable relationship. Do not walk into the theatre expecting a candy coated love story, because what you’d be getting instead is an unrefined but provocative tale of love and hate.

The Sixth Generation director also has his cast to thank for this recommended piece of work. Although relatively unknown in our regions, the three men in question - Qin Hao, Chen Sicheng and Wu Wei manage to capture our attention with their everyday looks and daring acts on screen. Qin has also nabbed a Best Actor nomination at the upcoming 47th Annual Golden Horse Awards. Supporting actresses Tan Zhuo and Jiang Jiaqi also deliver decent performances in this male centric film.

Running at almost two hours, the film may not go down well with audiences who like their movies fast, digestible and choppy, but isn’t this the exact feeling one would get from the delirium of drunken nights, when spring brings about the beautiful blossoms of flowers and all things pretty?

Movie Rating:

(An unconventional love story which will challenge the notions of devotion and commitment)

Review by John Li


. Summer Palace (2006)

. Lan Yu (2001)

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