a film by Scud
2010 | 97 mins | Hong Kong
›› Amphetamine - An fei ta ming
the bittersweet highs and lows of life and love.
Amphetamine by Scud
Official Synopsis:-

Kafka, a straight fitness / swimming instructor meets Daniel, a finance executive who happens to be gay. The two young men fall passionately in love and believe that their love can bridge anything, even the difference in their sexuality and Kafka's increasing drug use.

Daniel does not regret his love for Kafka, who tries to love him back against his nature. But a dreadful memory from Kafka's past makes it difficult for their relationship to work, as their addiction to love proves more fatal, than the drugs they use to explore the boundaries of their fateful friendship.

Director's Statement:-

"Amphetamine was inspired by a story of a close friend who nearly lost his life, some said because of drugs, others because of love. For those of us who would find no reason to live without love, the addiction to love would prove fateful. I thank my actors and actresses for their unrestrained faith in me, and dedicate this film to people who have ever lost the love of their life."
Amphetamine by Scud
Dave Says:-

Beautifully shot, if surreal in parts, in particular during the closing act, here we find writer and director Scud delight in the numerous plot strands of his screenplay, endlessly cross-cutting his work with snippets of scenes to be and ones that were, including a sensuous kissing montage between the boys.

Only this is a film of contrasts and not just the affluence of Daniel's penthouse styled view of Hong Kong set against the working class, often poverty stricken reality of life, given it is the very sexuality of the protagonists that Scud plays with, having gone out of his way to vividly detail the relationship between two men at differing positions on the Kinsey scale. That Kafka is straight, is not in doubt, just as his devotion to his terminally ill mother, coupled with a traumatic incident from his past, have come to find him wary of strangers. Yet here is a man who finds himself in the arms of same-sex love, "learning to be gay" as much as he learns English, to please his Australian-Chinese boyfriend.

Complete with a brutal scene that is as unsettling, as it is critical to the plot, the result is a feature that is gay to the core, high on homoeroticism and frankly high on full frontal male nudity, with Byron Pang as Kafka seemingly out of his clothes, more often than in them. That he plays his troubled soul role well, is to his credit, pent up emotions that are but destined to explode, given the relationship between him and Thomas Price as Daniel is built on a sexual fault line, a fracture enhanced by Kafka's alarming addiction to amphetamine abuse.

Yet and in spite all of its positives and of those there are many, including the splendid camera work of Charlie Lam, this is a film whose almost incessant narrative flashes will undoubtedly irritate many, as too will the one too many dream sequences of the piece. That Scud is on more than familiar ground here, goes without saying, as the theme of a gay man falling for his "straight boyfriend" formed the cinematic foundation stone of his prior feature Permanent Residence. Only here, the emotional rollercoaster ride on the bittersweet highs and lows of life and love, is so much more artistically told, being rich in both its locations and style.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - the full monty. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.
available on DVD as part of the Ais Films catalogue: 25.January.2011 / US.
principal players: Byron Pang / Kafka, Thomas Price / Daniel, Winnie Leung / Linda, Linda So /
May, Simon Tam / Simon, Li Hua Peng / Kafka's mother, Chen Kok Sun / Kafka's father
and Ron Heung as Daniel's friend.
cameo appearance by Scud as the Video Shopkeeper.
official website:
Copyright 2012 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #515
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