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Indiana University

Outreach

Video Lending Library

China

Program Title: East Palace, West Palace
EASC Code: CE-05
Series Title:
Region/Country: China
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English
Subject: Movie & TV Drama
Program Type: Feature
Media Type:VHS
Director: Zhang Yuan
Producer: Zhang Yuan and Ghristophe Jung
Release Date: 1999
Running Time: 90 min.
Color or BW: Color
Program Abstract: The setting is familiar the world over--a section of a big-city park where the gay men cruise, but in Zhang Yuan's stunning EAST PALACE, WEST PALACE, the park happens to be the grounds of the Forbidden Palace in Beijing. The locale is crucial, for this means that this picture--even more so than FAREWELL, MY CONCUBINE--is one of the first modern Chinese films to deal so directly and outspokenly with gay themes. What makes EAST PALACE, WEST PALACE such a threatening film goes beyond the seesawing of sexual dominance. The shifting power between prisoner and cop easily becomes a metaphor for an authoritarian regime and its seemingly most helpless citizens. You can see how the film could easily be adapted to the stage, yet EAST PALACE, WEST PALACE is a richly cinematic experience that comes alive in imagination of a man who's inspired rather than crushed by being questioned in an isolated little police station in a darkened park in the dead of night.
Data Entry Date: 10/2/2001