If you have ever watched any of the edgy movies made by the openly gay Chinese auteur filmmaker known simply as Scud, then you will know to expect a lot of full frontal nudity in his work. In this, his latest movie about to be released on DVD/VOD in the U.S., it’s actually easier to count the scenes when the actors are fully clothed as they are so few and far in between.
It all starts with a very ‘Jarmenesq’ BDSM dream scene where naked student Hins (Adonis He) is being whipped and teased first by a naked masked woman and then followed by naked man also wearing a mask. When Hins wakes up and trots off to school he discovers that there is a new Professor (Jackie Chow) to teach Humanities and he starts the lesson by discussing his own homosexuality. That is way too much for Hin’s long-standing uptight Catholic girlfriend Joy (Fiona Wang) who is in the classroom with him , and she storms out leaving a curious Hins to discover more.
When he visits the Professor’s office later to discuss literature and philosophy, it is obvious that he is enamored by the charismatic teacher. The feeling is mutual, but however as Hins is so convinced that he is 100% heterosexual, he is totally confused. So too is Joy who sees that Hins is now spending most of his leisure time hanging on the Professor’s every word and avoiding her, but as she has never let her boyfriend get to ‘first base’ this pent up teenage boy has had to ‘take care of himself’. Now, in one of the most explicit scenes in the film, he does this whilst looking at pictures of the Professor.
Turns out that what the older man wants is a Utopian existence. Once he seduces Hin (in a very dramatic infinity pool overlooking the city) he reveals that Swan Ching-Man Chin the mysterious elegant woman who has been hanging around in the background is really his wife, and they simply wanted a more free and easy sex life. They even finally persuade the uptight Joy to be part of it too.
You could easily be forgiven for starting out to think that this is really is just another piece of ‘soft-porn,’ but Scud who is somewhat obsessed with the work of the great tragic Japanese writer Mishima Yukio, weaves an interesting and esoteric story that goes way beyond that. It’s a tale of sexual freedom of a group of people who care little for the usual constraints that society makes, so that they can discover their own path. Whether this really Utopia or not, is in the eye of the beholder, or believer.
Most of Scud’s rather entertaining work falls foul of the Chinese censors which is a pity as they should be able to reach the audience they deserve, but we can at least see his intriguing take on life which should never be taken too seriously.