›› Speechless - Wu yan
a film by Simon Chung.
2012 | 93 mins | Hong Kong - China.
principal players: Pierre-Matthieu Vital / Luke, Gao Qilun / Jiang, Yu Yung Yung / Ning, Jiang Jian / Han, Si Tu Yu Ting / Lan, Shaio Yu Hua / Chi and Lang Shu Ling as Jiang's mother.
Adapted Synopsis: "In a remote part of southern China, a mysterious Westerner is found on a riverbank, completely naked. Taken to the local police station and afterwards to a nearby hospital, his refusal to speak prompts exasperated staff to set in motion plans to transfer him to an out of town mental asylum. Only hospital orderly Jiang has other ideas. Befriending the stranger, Jiang takes him instead to his uncle's village, where the reasons behind the Westerner's silence, slowly begin to emerge."
Fans of the work of writer and director Simon Chung of End of Love fame will know what to expect here and sure enough Chung's now trademark "long and winding road" style of storytelling dominates this feature. And here cue a tale in two acts, given the discovery of the stranger aka Luke; a speechless, if trilingual Frenchman and the transparent love that Jiang has for the man under his care, gives way to the story of the mysterious past of the Westerner himself. Yet to say more, would be a spoiler.
What can be said however is that the truth will out by way of the hands of a gifted pianist, with idolatry as a middle name. Just as it is all too apparent that this is a film that will clearly delight some, only to leave others yearning for the notes of revelation to be played sooner, rather than later as fragmented flashbacks, including a pivotal gay sex scene, hint at the traumatic events of the man's past.
When love speaks louder than words in Speechless.
Sure, the result is bittersweet. For what began as a quiet work of romance builds into a thriller, as pieces of the cinematic jigsaw come to reveal acts of love and betrayal. And whilst maintaining a chemistry between two people, one of whom is devoid of lines for the main part, is a narrative tightrope to walk, there are nevertheless some beautiful sequences between the silent stranger and man of words, Jiang, nicely played by the Vital / Qilun boys, even if it is Jiang Jian as cutie Han who ends up dominating many a scene. All of which culminates in a film that in wonderfully coming full circle, vividly details the bond between two men, when love speaks louder than words.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.