Hu Du Men
| Our Rating:
L Factor: Gender Bender/Major lesbian character
Short Take: A straight Cantonese opera star only plays male roles and finds herself the object of lesbian and gay affections. Her teenage daughter is a lesbian.
Duration: 98 min
Language: Hong Kong/Chinese
MPAA: Not Rated
|Director: Kei Shu
Writer: Raymond To
Starring: Josephine Siao, Anita Yuen, Daniel Chan Hiu Tung, Waise Lee, King-fai Chung, Sikei Lee, David Wu, Heung Kam Lee, On Yon Tou, Greg Evans
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I watch a relatively large number of Hong Kong films, and Hu Du Men is really impressive. Lead actress Josephine Siao won or was nominated for several best actress awards, and the film was given a special award by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society.
Sum (Siao, Fong Sai-Yuk) is a well known Cantonese opera star, a woman who has played only male roles for the last twenty years. One of her female fans consistently proposes to her, thinking that she really is a man.
None of this bothers Sum, who identifies as heterosexual and is married to a man. She feels able to separate her life offstage from onstage. When it is revealed that her teenage daughter Mimi is a lesbian, Sum is also very accepting, helping Mimi to be together with girlfriend Jo (On Yon Tou) to the objections of her husband.
What throws Sum into a tizzy is Jo’s reaction to her. When Sum goes to talk to her in a lesbian bar, Jo calls her ‘Uncle’ instead of ‘Auntie’ and lets her know that lesbians and gay men find her very attractive as a man, rather than just an ordinary woman.
Sum normally wears pants suits with men’s wingtip shoes in her everyday life, but experiences a brief switch to dresses, wondering if everyone else only likes her as a man. At the same time all of this is going on, her husband has convinced her to emigrate to Australia, which will mean retirement from the opera, and something from her past unexpectedly pops up. The line between onstage and offstage begins to blur in many ways. (AB)