Twilight’s Kiss review: A tender gay love story in Hong Kong

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While many movies and TV shows have featured older LGBTQ couples – “Cloudburst,” “Love Is Strange,” “Vicious,” and the current “Supernova,” to name a few – the venue From Hong Kong’s “Twilight’s Kiss,” Writer-Director Ray Yeung’s sweetly observant and purposefully paced drama about two aging gay men is particularly deep.

Pak (Tai Bo) is a pragmatic 70-year-old taxi driver on the cusp of semi-retirement. He is married to sour and suspicious Ching (Au Ga Man Patra), with whom he has two children and an adorable grandchild (with a second on the way). It has been a simple, contained life, except for one thing: his stealthy attraction to men. But it has remained closed not only because of societal and generational constraints, but also because of the pride and comfort he enjoys as a father.

Enter Hoi (Ben Yuen), whom Pak tries – unsuccessfully – to recover on a cruise through the local park. Kind, lively Hoi is 65, retired, long divorced, and lives with his stiff and devout Christian son, Wan (Lo Chun Yip), as well as Wan’s wife and young daughter. Hoi is also close to his family, but has much more experience than Pak in the gay world, including being part of the Mature Tongzhi Society, a supportive circle of older gay men.

Pak and Hoi reunite and slowly enter into a tender, joyful romance, filled with little adventures and stolen moments, though a shadow of secrecy and family pressure looms. Can these two soul mates find a path to long term happiness?

Viewers hoping for a definitive answer may be disappointed, although you can extrapolate an option or two from the closing shot.

Some may also wish this low-key film to spend more time with Pak and Hoi together than with them separately. Yet this approach gives the story a sort of mosaic quality, effectively fleshing out our protagonists to their friends, family, and family life. The way Pak handles his beloved cab says it all.

The film also offers a striking view of Hong Kong and the surrounding area, with a low-key glimpse into the city’s gay social scene. Great performances all around too.

“The twilight kiss”

In Cantonese with English subtitles

Unclassified

Duration of operation: 1 hour 32 minutes

Playing: Starts February 19 at the virtual cinema in Laemmle; also in PVOD

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