the Western world, the television broadcast and DVD/video release of the Queer As
Folk series is considered to be a pivotal element in changing public perceptions
of homosexuality. Will the film version of
presenter, John Frame, talks in
JF: Stanley Kwan, weíre here in Brisbane City, just outside The Regent Cinema, and as part of the Brisbane International Film Festival, welcome to Queer Radio on 4ZZZ. How are you?
SK: Good. Very nice weather and very nice city.
This is really the first time Iíve been to
JF: We had the pleasure of seeing your film Lan Yu here last night as part of BIFF and itís a very honest portrayal of how men can love each other. You must be happy with the film?
SK: Iím quite happy Ė especially as I said
last night, that this is the first time Iíve worked with a major
JF: I like the way that the characters are allowed to be men who are attracted to men and who love men Ė and that they donít have to justify that to the audience. Hangdong seems to be the main character, even though Lan Yu is the name of the film, but Hangdong seems to be trying to follow his heart. Thereís part of the film where he thinks that he could love a woman, and he goes in that direction. Thatís a real thing that happens to people doesnít it?
SK: Yes, I think that. I have quite a
number of friends (like that) who are really successful businessmen or
celebrities in Mainland
JF: I like the way Lan Yu also presents the "day-to-day"-ness of the sort of relationships that men have.
SK: I think that a "man to man" relationship for me is no different from a heterosexual relationship, you know, if they really fall in love with each other.
JF: There are a lot of rapid scene changes, but it seems to take its time in developing the characters Ė so you do find a strong affinity with them as well. And it has a moderately tragic ending. One person questioned why a character had to die in the end, but thatís part of the story obviously Ė you didnít just throw that in as an extra?
SK: About the ending, for example in my relationship with my friend - my boyfriend Ė I always have a kind of feeling Ė Iím really afraid that someday all of a sudden maybe he, or maybe I, would disappear. Part of the reason is because Iím quite afraid of death but on the other hand, I maybe fantasise "What is death?" and so it is a very major element in all my films.
JF: Thereís a story by American Psychologist Dr Evelyn Hooker in which she says we are lucky to fall in love even once in our lives, but that very often there is a price to be paid. She says that shouldnít stop you falling in love, that you donít stop enjoying life.
SK: Yeah, I totally agree with that feeling and Iíve got the same feeling, you know. I can imagine that, one day, if my lover all of a sudden died, I will have no regrets for being in love with this guy. I totally agree with what she said.
JF: I enjoy also with Lan
Yu that we get to see what upper-class suburban
SK: Itís really only part of it, you know, because this story only focuses on these two characters, but if you go to Beijing or see any other Chinese film, you can see about the society, after the financial and economic development, that itís changing a lot.
JF: The story that Lan
Yu is based on is being represented as perhaps the most widely read Chinese
novel Ė and itís an electronic novel, it exists only on the Internet. Because
that story is so popular, do you expect that when Lan
Yu is released on DVD, that it will be watched then throughout mainland
SK: I think theatrical release is still
impossible. From "day one" the financier and producer knew that. With
this subject we thought there is no way that we can release the film in
theatres in Mainland
JF: I would imagine that Lan
Yu will have the same effect in
SK: Yes I expect that. We really expect that the market will be large.
JF: Itís been a pleasure talking to you, Stanley Kwan Ė director of Lan Yu here at the Brisbane International Film Festival.
SK: Thank you very much, Iím quite happy to be here Ė thanks!