It’s 1988 in Beijing, and domineering businessman Chen Handong (Hu Jun) lives a life of expensive taste thanks to his company’s success. But when he meets a young architecture student from the countryside, Lan Yu (Liu Ye), the two men become first sexually, then romantically involved. Based off Bei Tong’s novel Beijing Comrades, widely hailed as a milestone in queer Chinese literature, LAN YU is a wisful chronicle of Chen Handong and Lan Yu’s relationship through a decade of immense political and economic upheaval in China.
Provocative references to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and the financial crisis of 1997 anchor the film’s passionate melodrama to the stark reality of the world around its lovers. As age and class become major fault lines in Chinese society, Handong and Lan Yu also reach several breaking points in their relationship. Handong tries to win over Lan Yu with his wealth, while Lan Yu rebukes his attempts to buy his love. But their lives constantly bring them back into contact, leaving them wondering what social barriers love can really transcend, and why-despite everything against them-they still love each other anyway.
HIFF is thrilled to honor director Stanley Kwan as this year’s Spotlight on Hong Kong Filmmaker in Focus. The Festival will be presenting a special LIVE virtual discussion with Stanley on TUESDAY NOVEMBER 9TH at 5PM HST. Viewers will be able to participate in this event via the HIFF Facebook Page, HIFF Youtube Channel, and at HIFF.ORG.