Inside the Chinese Closet

DIRECTOR: Sophia Luvarà

West Coast Premiere

Andy and Cherry are emblematic of a new generation of gay and lesbian people in China—desperately seeking to strike a balance between their sexuality and deeply rooted family pressures to maintain the illusion of heterosexual family life. Trying to live as an out gay man in Shanghai (he self-identifies as a bear), Andy hopes to someday find Mr. Right, even as his insistent, traditionalist father coaches him to find a lesbian who is willing to join him in a sham marriage. His search for a compatible bride—he does want some kind of love to exist with anyone he calls his wife—forms one half of this film’s astonishing dual portrait. Equally compelling is Cherry, a young, rural lesbian already in her own fake marriage, whose parents openly explore buying a baby for her in order to save face with their community and become grandparents. The film’s cameras follow Cherry’s gentle attempts to gain acceptance—for instance, as she shows her mother other lesbians online, explaining that she is not alone in her experience. The tension between a building wave of LGBTQ awareness in China and a powerful undertow of cultural conformity creates ever-present drama in the film, while Andy and Cherry, trying to navigate difficult paths to some kind of personal truth, reveal a quiet but unshakable integrity.

— Thom Venegoni

In Mandarin with English subtitles.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D306

Co-presented by:
Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women & Transgender Community
Center for Asian American Media
Chinese Cultural Center

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