spring fever (2009)

Who doesn’t love a good ole fashioned government ban? Apparently that’s what controversial Chinese director Ye Lou was defying when he made this dark and stormy tale of old lovers, scorned wives and noobie ‘mos. Spring Fever is all about love and loss in a totalitarian society that just doesn’t get it. It’s kind of like Footloose, but hotter.

The film opens with some simple, beautiful shots of two lovely lovers, Jiang Chen & Wang Ping, pissing on someone’s house (or something?) on their way to their secret sex castle (or… something??). Unfortunately for us happy openly-gay gays, these two protagonists are not only not-out, but one has a wife who’s on to them (played by the amazing Jiang Jiaqi). She hires a P.I., Luo Haitao (played by the smoky Sicheng Chen), who snaps some kinky photos of a sex scene that we totally get to see, subsequently ruining her life and the lives of everyone else in the film. She freaks. She cries. And acts really hard. It’s actually amazing.

And then the yummy gay twist: hottie-P.I. is a secret ‘mo himself! So after the cover marriage has crumbled, leading to hubby Wang Ping’s awful public suicide, Luo Haitao moves in on Jiang Chen. And they do it. In the shower – which IMHO makes this film totally worth it, subtitle squinting and all.

The movie kind of unravels after that. There’s this whole girlfriend tagalong subplot which starts to feel like something out of Sunday Bloody Sunday, but does allow us to witness a really sweet drunk karaoke scene.

All-in-all, this film is kind of amazing. It’s remarkable that it was even made, considering the fact that a whole fucking country was against it, and the product is a little rough in places, but overall pretty well executed. I wouldn’t say this is an uplifting tale, but it won’t bum you out as much as some other gay tragi-dramas. Expect to want to smoke a cigarette and drink some serious gay cocktail at some dirty gay bar while contemplating the fleetingness of life after watching this one.

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