a film by Kit Hung
2009 | 100 mins | Switzerland - Hong Kong - China
›› Soundless Wind Chime
an achingly reflective meditation on life, love and longing.
Soundless Wind Chime by Kit Hung Deliberately unrushed, this beautifully shot, if fragmented work for all of its strengths and of those there are many, remains a perplexing cinematic ode to the fragility of life.

Not that star of the show Ricky needs a reminder. Well aware of the increasing frailty of his mother, he spends his time when not on the 'phone to her, shuffling through the busy streets of Hong Kong with deliveries fresh from the restaurant when he earns a living. Yet it is a life lived without love. That is, until fate knocks at his door by way of compassionate thief Pascal; a Swiss national who having slipped his hand into Ricky's pocket, now feels compelled to return the contents. Falling in love as fast as they find a place to move in together, Ricky is set to realise that with true love, comes a plateau of emotions.

Soundless Wind Chime by Kit Hung You know, some films require more than one viewing to gain a deeper insight into the director's mind. Well, this is one such feature. For here writer and director Kit Hung has blurred the boundary between what is real and what is imagined to such a degree, that the meaning of his narrative has become somewhat obscured in the process. And that's a shame, because this is an emotionally poignant piece; albeit one that is as dreamlike, as it is puzzling. For such are the never ending shifts between past and present time frames, that you are never quite sure what's going on. Not that it helps that Hung has intentionally rationed the visual clues, in particular during the opening sequence, one that was clearly going to come full circle.

The result is a film that plays with the souls of the departed by way of characters in different forms; from Ricky's terminally ill mother to an old lady with Alzheimer's seen in the singing spirit of her youth. Yet it is with Ricky's lover Pascal that Hung takes poetic license to its limit, having left the bustling streets of Beijing and Hong Kong behind, to showcase instead the serenity of the breathtaking snow covered mountains of Switzerland and in the process, introduce you to a character with the looks of Pascal, but with the name of Ueli. Thankfully into such a creative mix, Lu Yulai delights as Ricky, even if his relationship with Bernhard Bulling as Pascal / Ueli hits the ropes way too early in its development, a shared bond that lies in fleeing abusive relationships; Pascal by way of an ex boyfriend and Ricky's courtesy of the harsh tongue of his sex worker Aunt.

Cross-cut with scenes of gay life, night club style, together with numerous symbolic references to rebirth, let alone a number of surprising musical interludes, this is far from your standard gay cinema. Rather this is an achingly reflective meditation on life, love and longing. And whilst I would love to say more, frankly this is a film that has to be seen to be truly appreciated and perhaps, or perhaps not, understood.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.

›› Available to buy from Amazon.co.uk.
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue: 28.February.2011 / UK.
screened as part of the 24th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, 2010.
starring: Lu Yulai / Ricky, Bernhard Bulling / Pascal - Ueli, Wella Zhang / Aunt, Li Wai Foon / Restaurant Owner,
Wong Siu Yin / Popo, Hannes Lindenblatt / Marcus, Eric Kwok / Steve, Jimmy Chung / Friend of Pascal,
Joe Ho / Friend of Pascal, Marie Omlin / Sister, Gilles Tschudi / Father, Ruth Schwegler /
Mother, Jun Kanai / The Boy and Jackie Leung as the Singing Angel.
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #368
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