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A Hot Summer Love

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I think I’m feeling a little unfocused this week. See, my last few feature articles all have a focus to them, but this week I’m all over the place. Talk Sex.

Yes, there you go. It all comes back into focus. I’m listening to my sub consciousness and it keeps telling me, “You know what you watched the past few nights…”

Calm down, calm down. Do not get carried away. Now I’m going to tell you what I watched, and then you’ll find me lame for testing out the already well-tested theory that sex sells.

But, I’m not trying to sell my article. It’s not like someone is going to pay me a dollar for every mention of the forbidden word.

I have to work much harder if I’m going to get paid for that. When the word gets transformed into images, that’s where all the money goes.

Are we shedding light on another industry here? No, no… Film industry, film industry. Let’s get back to talking about the film industry.

This article is aiming at a General rating. So people who are looking for something else are kindly advised to direct yourself to another website.

Phew, okay. Back on topic. Film.

Now I can stop wrecking my nerves in fear that I’m just about to say something politically incorrect…… Hot Sexxx ……SHeesh. Gollum side of me is going out of hand. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost some readers already… Whatever the reason may be… Have to keep a hold on my sanity…

Okay, here’s the end to your suspense. Eternal Summer, Blue Gate Crossing, and Wong Kar Wai’s Happy Together. These are the three films I watched.

First off, these films explore sexuality issues. And yes, they contain brief sex scenes, but they are not the kind of films that belong in Yangtze theatre (which to my grave dismay has been permanently closed). Haven’t even been there once. (I’m serious!)

Second, yes I am going to talk about homosexuality because that is what the films portray, and I am totally fine with talking about it but in order to keep this piece from going astray once more, I intend to describe my experience of the films instead of just outlining their themes.

But, I am always inclined to end off these features with a bit of love. What’s there to not love about a Wong Kar Wai movie?

Yet, here I am going to play the part of a critic. Let me share with you the thoughts I had jotted down when I was nearly finished with my viewing of Eternal Summer.

“Bored like hell..” “Not my world..” “Not a story I feel for..” “Doesn’t work for me..” “Sex scene..” “Still not getting it..”

The sex scene was not the problem for me… Despite its being understated… Of course I can remind myself what I’m watching the film for. For analysis. Not to fan my appetite.  But then I realize that analysis is too cold a word, and I’ll never get any closer to understanding these films if I just refuse to throw myself into them.

But, I never did see the light. I just went in deeper, and deeper… I was sinking in my frustration at not being able to feel for either the male or female characters. Am I asexual? Have you seen how perfect looking they are?

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I thought to myself after the movie, “Did I just waste my time?” I do believe you wouldn’t want to read my review of this movie now. You can imagine the kind of vile things I’d be saying about it. Did I just waste my time… What an incredibly succinct movie review.

And yet, I still didn’t give up. I got up, and went in front of the mirror and stared hard at myself. Don’t have water splashing on my face and what not. Not that drama… I thought to myself… What if I’m not who I’m supposed to be? Wouldn’t that be complicated?

Okay, I’m going to relax my dry humor now, and share what kind of mindset the films did put me in.

But it is true that Eternal Summer left me feeling devoid and empty, so perhaps this frustrated expression is coming from someplace real after all.

And then my mood lightened with watching Blue Gate Crossing, and subsequently Happy Together. I like these films.

They made me realize what I was looking for in Eternal Summer. Or what I should not have looked for. Because these films are just different. They’re kind of totally different films altogether. They don’t even come from the same country.

I was looking for a kind of feeling that I wasn’t going to get from the film Eternal Summer. If you take the story action of Eternal Summer at face value, you may feel it’s too boring or simplistic. But if you can understand that the lines are coming from youths who are fragile for being uncertain of themselves, and who feel lost and empty when they imagine someone they value may not need them anymore… That is when their sparseness of speech begins to feel a little heartbreaking.

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Even if the actors in this film look more like professional models instead of high school students, I think they’ve done a pretty fine job in portraying their characters.

Take it from me that Blue Gate Crossing is more like a bittersweet coming-of-age tale. There is more sweet innocence in this movie. The actors are also younger and their portrayal of high school kids deserves praise.

Let me briefly describe the character motivations. One of the young girls in the film is unable to react to her best friend’s confession to her at the end of the film, because her best friend is also female.

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It happens that I’m rooting for her best friend in the film, and it’s this girl who is unable to react that is looking a bit like a coward. At least this is how I think the film intends it to be.

Her best friend tries to overcome her feelings, but she finally does let the girl know – quite succinctly too. This film actually makes me feel that her best friend is a brave character. She takes everything in her stride, and she becomes less afraid to face herself in the end. She is even quite happy to let go of it, if it turns out that her feelings are never meant to be requited.

But, at the very least, she has come out of the closet with the encouragement of a male friend, and at the end of the film, we see that she is contented to have his understanding and company.

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One other thing stayed with me at the end of the movie. I realized that the girl who was unable to react to her female friend’s confession to her never gets her own feelings resolved. She would rather remain in a fantasy world where she thinks writing a guy’s name with a pen of his until it runs out of ink is the way to make him fall in love with her.

My heart goes out to her. She is not an emotionless character. She is ‘cutesy’ and all, but the film does show moments of her emotional vulnerability behind that façade.

And so, at this point I realize, that these young ‘idol dramas’ have some good stuff.

It’s a comfort to be living in a world that looks pretty, but there comes a time when one loses that pure and virginal view of the world. That is called, growing up. (As I said, General rating.)

The way I understand the dilemma of these young characters is, their individual selves seem to need something that they might never have thought they would need. If they could understand what they were lacking, I don’t suppose they would be in such pain over it.

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It is no surprise that they do not know what to make of these feelings of coming-of-age if young people generally grow up with no guided aim but that of ‘stepping into society’ after graduating from school, to take on the usual roles of work and marriage. After all, what else is there?

However, through these films, we know that there is more. There is something called identity, and this is not something society at large can teach us about.

I’m really not drawing my own conclusions about the crises in these youth dramas, because the characters in the films show troubled looks as they vaguely talk about their aims of carrying on with higher education.

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Why did I get into watching these films of a young summer love? How did I get round to talking about youth anyway? I’m not so sure, but I guess I get my revelations from watching these films.

Films that explore difficult coming-of-age issues have a higher interest value for me than hearing someone telling the story of someone else saying, “I like you, I want to be your girlfriend…”

Such a story would wrap in a minute, I reckon. Or I could just listen to the Avril Lavinge song. But maybe I haven’t heard all sides to the story.

I’m not even done with my own article yet. I have a dire need to tell of the sex appeal of Asian films that explore sexuality, but I cannot cover it sufficiently unless I keep an entire second part to the article for it in another week.

I mean a positive sex appeal, by the way. There’s a kind of energy that comes from watching a Wong Kar Wai film for instance.

But, this week I’ll leave you with my impression of these films of a love that is just starting to find expression, against the odds.

Yet, there is something really enticing about that.

After all, silence can speak volumes.

Especially when it’s laced with emotion.

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