13 November 2011 | davo
Not Crystal Boys, but the same source
I believe movies should be judged (if at all) on their own merits, rather than how they might measure up to their literary sources. Different medium, different story. That said, I watched this adaptation of the novel, Nieh-Tzu (Crystal boys) the same day I finished reading the book (in English translation). I read it after cataloging an academic work that touched on the novel's importance related to gay issues in 21st Taiwan. I have not seen the TV series Crystal Boys which debuted in 2003. This film from 1986 may have been groundbreaking in its time (I lack the cultural credentials to know), but from my foreign perspective, it does not bear up well. First of all, the music sounds pretty bad to me, like sappy pop. I appreciate that there is compassion for the young gay boys, but the soundtrack sentimentalizes what gritty dignity they possess. The intimate "Cozy Nest" gay nightclub of the novel is here transformed into the glitzy Blue Angel disco. (More bad music.) It seems as if 2 or 3 characters from the book are conflated into one father figure for the gay boys, which is understandable, and similarly, a landlady's role is amplified into something like a fag hag. I kind of liked her. I also liked the dramatically lit bridge in the park which serves as a cruising area. On the whole, however, I found this version rather disappointing.