Friday, June 08, 2007

siff hotties: joseph chang

The seventh installment of SIFF Hotties! (Previously, Hommes de Paris, Juan José Ballesta, Lee Young-hoon, Boys of Cashback, Quim Gutiérrez, and Dasepo Sonyeon.)

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I wrote briefly about the Taiwanese gay indie Eternal Summer previously when I was fawning over the hotness of Bryant Chang just before the festival began, but Bryant wasn't the only hottie in that movie. As you can see above, Joseph Chang is also really hot. According to this website, he was born on the 28th day of December, 1983, has an older sister, and enjoys swimming, skateboarding, movies and drawing. He went to Fu Hsin Art School in Taipei, and began his career in entertainment as a print model. Fascinating! He's appeared previously in various Taiwanese TV dramas that I've never seen, including Crystal Boys, based on the seminal gay Taiwanese novel of the same name written by Pai Hsien-yung. Joseph can next be seen in the soon-to-be-released indie Keeping Watch. From what I can tell from the trailer, Joseph plays a weirdo stalker who sometimes thinks he is his (deceased?) best friend from middle school. Glasses on, he is Clark Kent; glasses off, Superman! Other than that I don't know what the story is about, and it actually doesn't look that interesting to me (I guess the guy who cut the trailer wasn't very good), but you can judge that for yourself.

Embedded video alert! The trailer for Keeping Watch.

Two Chinese-language films reviewed.

Eternal Summer (Shengxia Guangnian). Rating: 5. I loved this movie. It's about two guys who have been best friends since they were kids and the girl who complicates their relationship. It wasn't a perfect movie, and there was definitely room for improvement in places, but it captured so well the feelings of longing as a result of unrequited love, the fear and apprehension that comes when you realize that childhood is ending and things aren't going to stay the same, and the sorrow that naturally follows both of these. Something very similar to what happens in the movie happened to me, so it also hit close to home. I totally almost cried several times throughout the movie, especially at the end, because I identified so much with the character that Bryant Chang played (Jonathan). The direction was very very good, and I'm feeling totally inadequate because the director is my age. There were some overused clichés in the movie, like the done-to-death hit-by-a-car sequence (see usage in The Cloud and Doghead in this festival alone), but it didn't really take too much away from the experience since I still enjoyed the film immensely. If I actually ever bought DVDs anymore, this would be one that I would definitely get. Watch it!

The Banquet (Yeyan). Rating: 3. Yawn. This tenth-century Chinese take on Hamlet was really boring, which is weird considering it's a fucking martial arts movie choreographed by Yuen Woo-ping. Director Feng Xiaogang usually makes soulless, showy movies which are entertaining if nothing else. His attempt at injecting this movie with real meaning was misguided, because I don't think Feng really knows how to (it takes a little more than lingering shots and slower dialogue, my friend), and as a result, most of the movie was tiresome to watch. This is one of those films where it could easily have been 40 to 50 minutes shorter without losing anything of substance. But I suppose it wasn't a complete bust, which is why I didn't rate it lower. The story was decent, the sets and costumes were beautifully made, and the fighting was very well done (even if it was really bloody). If Feng had just stuck to what he was good at, then perhaps this movie would have been better. I hope he doesn't try to stretch too far in his next project. Oh yeah, Daniel Wu is in this movie.

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