A documentary on the life of young gay
men in China is in the running for an Academy Award, reports Reuters.
Tongzhi In Love reunites the
Oscar-winning pair of director Ruby Yang and producer Thomas Lennon.
Love follows three young gay men
in Beijing, where a thriving gay scene allows the men to be free.
But for Frog Cui, Long Ze and Xiang Feng the cosmopolitan city is
just an escape from their countryside roots, where their families
remain unaware of their sexuality.
The friends disagree on coming out in a
society where tradition dictates the family must produce a child to
carry the family line – pressure which is only compounded by
China's single child law.
Frog wants to honor the family he loves
and make them happy by marrying and having a child, Xiang commits to
coming out to his family, and Long believes gays who do not marry are
“That attitude is selfish, completely
selfish ... If you live your whole life for yourself, not for your
parents, how are you going to fulfill your responsibilities as a
Chinese man?” he asks.
Chinese traditions, family obligations
and sexual freedom collide in Love.
The 30-minute film is the second
Academy Award nomination for the filmmaking pair of Lennon and Yang,
who began working in China in 2004. Their 2006 Oscar-winning
documentary, The Blood of Yinghou District, explored China's
struggle to deal with AIDS.
“It was our concern with AIDS that
first drew us into filming young gay men,” said director Ruby Yang
in a press release. “But the magic of documentary film is that you
don't always know, or control, where your story is going to take you.
There is not a single reference to HIV or AIDS in this film. It's a
story about stigma, about being forced to lead a double life.”