- Director: Kuang-Hui Liu
- Writer: Yu Ning Chu
You have to remember that this is set in 1987...hopefully, the Taiwanese education system is less brutal!
Isn't it amazing how 'adults' simply forget what they were like when they were young...doing daft things, getting into trouble, falling in love [with the wrong person]...it's as if, you reach a certain age [or office] and instantly forget the joys and missteps of youth! This film enshrines this perplexing conundrum perfectly.
Requited love, there's nothing more beautiful. Requited love between to beautiful young men...ooh, it melts the heart. And...these two young actors have the chemistry to make you tingle with jealousy.
Despite a few missteps, the religious preaching by a miscast priest, Danny Boy being played badly and too often...and, the last scene a couple of decade later [unnecessary]. There's a natural point where this film should have ended...leaving you wondering which is not a bad way to be left!
It's a beautifully shot film...with a damn fine score [apart from Danny Boy]. But...it's the two young actors who grab the limelight and wrestle not only with each other but with some difficult issues...'homosexuality as a phase' being particularly pertinent...along with religious intervention and, that old chestnut that never goes away: Tradition!
So...this is not your average Boys Love film...this has meat on its bones and beauty in its DNA.
In 1988, martial law ends in Taiwan and two schoolboys, A-han and Birdy, are about to enter into an illicit love affair after meeting in the school band led by a Canadian priest named Oliver. While the whole country commemorates the late president, the two boys bask in each other's presence as A-han's affection for Birdy is awakened. However, society is homophobic and the threat of violence and social shaming enacted by adults and their fellow teens causes the two to come into conflict as they edge closer to physically enacting on their passions for each other. Birdy pushes A-han away by pretending to fall in love with a girl and this misunderstanding separates them. In desperation, A-han confessed to Father Oliver about his sexuality, only to be cut off again but love knows no bounds and the boys are meant to be together - Inspired by real events, the film is emblematic of the changes in Taiwan which became the first country in Asia to legalise gay marriage.