22.04. ‐ 27.04.2025
Lan Yu

Lan Yu (Restored)

Stanley Kwan

Desperate for money, young student Lan Yu spends a night with businessman Handong. At first, Handong tries to reduce their interaction to a mere exchange of sex and favours, however, it soon becomes clear that they both harbour deeper feelings for each other. Despite their age and class differences, the two men develop a complex relationship with one another. Director Stanley Kwan tells the story of a clandestine love affair that took place in China at the end of the 1980s – the period between the economic crisis and the Tian'anmen Square protests.

Despite having neither a filming permit nor a release in Mainland China, the film still became an underground hit in the country. The Hong Kong director breaks several taboos of Chinese cinema in his film with the intimate and haunting depiction of both homosexual eroticism and the images of the Tian'anmen massacre.

More information Lichter FilmfestLichter Filmfest

Direction Stanley Kwan
Country Hong Kong, China
Year 2001/2022
Duration 86 min
Language Mandarin with English subtitles
Production Qin Jian, Yongning Zhang
Cast Jun Hu, Ye Liu, Huatong Li
Camera Tao Yang, Jian Zhang
Script Jimmy Ngai
Editing William Chang
Sound Xueyi Wang

Golden Horse Awards Taiwan 2001: 5 awards, including Best Director and Best Actor in a Leading Role

About the Director

Stanley Kwan, together with Wong War-Kai, are some of the most important leading figures of the so-called Second Wave in Hong Kong cinema - a movement centred around the transitional period following the handover of the Crown Colony to the People's Republic of China. Kwan depicts the precarious situations in the 1990s in both his historical films as well as his moving melodramas. Because Kwan's parents had emigrated to Hong Kong, exile and homeland play a major role in his films. Kwan rose to fame in Hong Kong with his debut film NU REN XIN (WOMEN, 1985), and made international breakthrough three years later with YANZHI KOU (ROUGE, 1988). Kwan announces his homosexuality in his documentary on Chinese film history and won the Teddy Award at the Berlinale with YUE KUAI LE, YUE DUO LUO (HOLD YOU TIGHT, 1998)."(edition Text+Kritik)

Press Reviews

“As a love story, Lan Yu brings to bear a thematic universality that renders the characters’ gayness incidental, or casually irrelevant.” (Fiona Ng, Indiewire)

The Director About the Film

“Zhang Yongning was very moved by the story. He was very persuasive when he approached me with the project, and I felt that I could make this film. I asked him to let me read the novel first, and I was immediately taken aback by the first few chapters. Every single detail of lovemaking between the two men was depicted in very precise and explicit terms in the first few chapters, and it felt more like erotica rather than a love story at first.

I knew I didn’t want to shoot a gay porn film or gay erotica. So I talked to my writer, Jimmy Ngai, a frequent collaborator of mine from previous films. From our discussions, we found some other things in the novel [that interested us]. For me, having been with my boyfriend for 11 years, there were a lot of things about the story I could relate to. In the end, I wanted to make the film because I was touched by the novel, but on some other level, I was probably using it as a lens to view my own relationship.” (Stanley Kwan im Interview mit Indiewire)

International Feature Film Program