Hong Kong director Ray Yeung’s Suk Suk (released as Twilight’s Kiss in North America) has been drawing rave reviews since its premiere at the Busan International Film Festival, and it’s easy to see why; gentle, subtle, and deeply moving, Suk Suk is a real gem.
Pak (Tai-Bo) is a married taxi driver and grandfather coming to terms with his sexuality in secret. Now that his kids have grown, he’s taken to cruising, and meets Hoi (Ben Yuen), another grandparent who lives with his stern Christian son. To find a safe space to meet, Hoi introduces Pak to a gay sauna and within those walls the two discover an intimacy that is measured and sweet and safe from the world outside.
There is nothing melodramatic about Suk Suk, but the drama is writ large in the subtlest looks from these two brilliant lead actors. Don’t expect any awards-nomination-clip worthy outbursts here, the changes these men go through are bold but delivered with grace.
Yeung keeps things sensual but not voyeuristic, and similarly the film’s tension brews throughout its running time without boiling over. The importance and weight of family hangs heavy on both men, but it is a burden they are used to carrying. Some lovely light moments come from Hoi’s friends in a gay community support group, which add breadth to their experiences and balance out the lingering musical moments that threaten to tip the film into overt sentimentality.
Suk Suk is a marvellously delicate film that should speak loudly to Sydney’s bustling Chinese community and beyond.
By Chad Armstrong
Suk Suk is available on demand via Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival website.
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