ENTER THE CLOWNS
(Chou Jue Deng Chang)
Mandarin w/ English subtitles
Straight, gay and in-between Beijingers unleash a whirlwind of transsexual mayhem in this groundbreaking, gender-bending debut by China’s preeminent queer filmmaker.
Xiao Bo (Yu Bo) lives in a world where the lines defining men from women are constantly dissolving. He kneels at the deathbed of his father (Cui Zi’en) who has become a woman, and whose dying wish is to have oral sex with his/her son. His boyfriend “Nana” has also undergone a sex change, but Xiao Bo no longer finds her attractive as a woman. A sexual chain reaction ensues that wreaks havoc on traditional Chinese roles that govern male and female, parent and child.
Filmmaker, novelist and queer activist Cui Zi’en caused an international sensation with his shockingly transgressive debut. Inspired by the likes of Andy Warhol and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, but set within a specifically Chinese context, ENTER THE CLOWNS is “a movie that says everything you know about sexual identity and gender orientation is wrong” (Tony Rayns, Time Out). “Cui may be unique as China’s first gay filmmaker, but it is… in the international pantheon of queer filmmakers that we must ultimately locate him” (Chris Berry, positions: east asia cultures critique).