A TASTE OF HONEY (dir. Tony Richardson, 1961, United Kingdom, Spine #829); MAURICE (dir. James Ivory, 1987, United Kingdom).
This week I watched two British films about young people scrambling to find a way to build a life outside the bounds of societal expectations. Both feature gay characters drawn with a radical compassion far ahead of their time, and mischievous performances that put the exhilaration and terror of young love on full display.
Before seeing Tony Leung in SHANG-CHI this weekend, I watched him play a rich boy with soulful eyes whose indecision brings turmoil to a pair of late-19th century brothels. Hou contrasts the beautiful haze created for male fantasy with the harsh realities of beatings, addiction, and bondage. He also shows the tenacity of the flower girls who use every limited tool at their disposal and what power they have with their patrons to dig themselves out of the debt their “aunties” use to keep them captive.
The Bri-terion Collection
I’m loving the Criterion Channel streaming service, so every week I’m going to share my favorite new find.