The Prickle (@ThePrickle) June 13, 2020
This brief foray into the secret gay romance of two closeted, working-class Hong Kong grandpas (aka “uncles”, as the title literally translates) is a beautifully acted and quietly thought-provoking piece. Writer and director Ray Yeung makes a bold move in focusing on such a marginalised and under-represented group in Hong Kong society, where gay marriage is still not legal.
Tai Bo won the 2020 Hong Kong Film Award for best actor, in his central role as taxi driver Pak, trapped in a lonely marriage. He initially meets Hoi (Ben Yuen) at a cruising spot; Hoi dares to say he wants to be friends first. Meeting secretly in the daytime, they visit a local rundown sauna – more like a community of similar-aged, similarly closeted men. The setting seems seedy at first, but their tender sexual encounters are utterly real. One of the most moving scenes is seeing them cook and eat together at Hoi’s apartment. But Hoi’s family will be returning the next day.
Hoi also attends a focus group run by a gay charity, with the intention of proposing a gay nursing home to the government. The men’s desires and reluctances are painfully well-observed.
After about eighty minutes, the film ends abruptly. We never see the couple reunite; we never see the gay nursing home. As an audience, we feel cheated: the film pitters out. The message lingers.
Read more about Suk Suk on the New Voice Film Productions website.