FILM FESTIVALS

Gay Viruses, Trans-Rockers, and Ghost Lovers: 5 Q! Films The Islamic Protesters Don’t Want You To See

Space of Desire

WHAT’S IT ABOUT: On January 15 1980, Inspector John MacLennan of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force was found dead with five bullet wounds in his chest by a group of fellow officers who had come to arrest him on suspicion of homosexual activities. The catch? He might have been murdered to prevent him from going public with the names of high-ranking police officers also under investigation for homosexual ‘offenses.’ His murder serves as the flashpoint for this documentary about gay marriage, employee discrimination, Pride, activism, and queer subculture through the eyes of Chinese sexologists, legislators, civil rights leaders, and Hong Kong’s first married gay couple.

WHO’S THE DIRECTOR: Straight director David Chow makes sure to delineate between American and Chinese queer rights battles by concentrating on China’s cultural contradictions. For example, queers would love social acceptance but not the publicity of a gay marriage. Also, China wants international businesses to invest there but continues to isolate itself by ignoring social issues affecting women and queers alike.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: China has been slower than Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong in embracing its LGBTQ citizens. Instead of lamenting China’s slow pace, Chow’s film looks at the cultural underpinnings that explain the country’s attitudes toward queers and the consequences affecting China’s ambition as an East Asian world city. As a result, Chow provides a stunning profile of China as a whole instead of just its disenfranchised LGBT community.