‘I am still beautiful. It's the gay scene that lost its taste.'

Cut Sleeve Boys

on August 17, 2007 by Annlee Ellingson
Chairman of the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival Society, Ray Yeung makes his feature directorial debut with this romantic farce set in London. At its center are Ashley Wang (producer Chowee Leow) and Melvyn Shu (Steven Lim), two aging gay scenesters who are forced to reexamine their swinging lifestyles after the death of a closeted college friend.

Frustrated by a dearth of masculine lovers, Ash turns tranny to attract the attention of butch, ex-army Ross (Neil Collie) but regrets having to play dress up to snag a man. Meanwhile, fashionista Mel finds himself playing host to Welsh country boy Todd (Gareth Rhys Davies), but, once he exposes his protégé to an open relationship, discovers he's jealous and perhaps even ready to settle down.

Although low production values have resulted in some '80s-esque video effects that contribute little to the storytelling, Yeung strikes a light-hearted, entertaining tone while addressing issues significant to gay culture yet too often overlooked—that is, what happens after coming out? Also at work are clever, yet not overplayed, cinematic references both general (as in a jab at lovers' blissful movie mornings) and specific (as in Mel's paraphrasing of Norma Desmond's signature lines in Sunset Blvd. ). The title references a Chinese story about an emperor who cuts off his sleeve to prove his love for a concubine and is slyly yet subtly alluded to in the film.
Distributor: Here!
Cast: Chowee Leow, Steven Lim, Mark Hampton, Gareth Rhys Davies, Neil Collie and John Ebb-on-Knee Campell
Director/Writer: Ray Yeung
Producer: Chowee Leow
Genre: Romantic comedy
Rating: R for strong sexual content, drug use and language
Running time: 86 min.
Release date: August 10, 2007 LA, August 17 Chi/San Diego/Mpls, August 31 SF
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