Yang ± Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema

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Made for the BFI's 'Century of Cinema' series, this remarkable film combines ultra-candid autobiography (Kwan not only comes out as gay but also discusses his sexuality with his mother) with a highly original investigation of the ways that Chinese cinema has constructed images of masculinity and dealt with sexual ambivalence. Many directors chip in comments on the roles of fathers in Chinese families, male bonding and the sexual lure of elder-brother figures. Stand-out sequences include a celebration of drag king Yam Kin-Fai, a survey of Brigitte Lin's many androgynous roles, and an interview with veteran martial arts director Chang Cheh about the Freudian symbolism in his all male extravaganzas - which Kwan illustrates with a hair-raising clip of a half-naked man being impaled by the arse on a huge metal spike.

Release details

Duration: 77 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Stanley Kwan
Screenwriter: Stanley Kwan, Edward Lam
Cast: Leslie Cheung
John Woo
Edward Yang
Chen Kaige
Tsui Hark
Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Tsai Ming-liang
Ang Lee
Stanley Kwan
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