Blue Gate Crossing – 藍色大門 (2002): A Coming Out Story and the Bonds of Friendship

blue-gate-crossing

“Blue Gate Crossing,” is a famous Taiwanese film directed by Yee Chin-yen, it was nominated for Best Asian Film at Hong Kong’s 23rd Film Festival. I was interested in seeing it after a friend and mentor recommended it to me and the fact that I love Taiwan, I was fortunate enough to visit their for a month.

“Blue Gate Crossing,” is a drama about love between two high school friends (Meng and Lin) and a guy (Zhang). The story is an exploration as Meng discovers she has feelings for her girlfriend Lin and that she doesn’t like guys as well as Zhang learning what love means by supporting her when she shares her feelings about her friend with him.

Here is my assessment:

The Pros: The music – The music is the best part, there are so many piano pieces that compliment the many different emotional places throughout the film. From Zhang biking home on his bike away from his feeling (intense piano cords played quickly), to reflective as we go into Meng’s mind.

The Drama: I give drama it’s own area here because this really is a character piece about Meng. Lin is only there to help her move on after Lin doesn’t return the feelings after coming out…this is contracted with Zhang who becomes her best friend and accepts her as Lesbian.

The Message: Is powerful, I have yet to see a movie like this here in the states (though some television shows have done a fine job of the coming out and acceptance of oneself story). I loved how well the movie did showing and not telling. We see Meng dealing with societal pressure and the fact that she does like Zhang as a friend, but that it hurts that he does end up dating Lin even though he still has feelings (though is able to put them aside for the friendship) and Lin rejects her. Zhang does have difficulty initially, but he accepts her coming out pretty quick which is contrasted by her friend since the beginning who rejects her.

The Script: Lots of great showing and not telling, or if we are told something it be contrasted by the reality of the characters’ actions.

Okay: The Cinematography – There were some great shots at certain moments, such a long shot during the Principle’s Speech but for the most part it wasn’t anything super memorable.

Cons: Lin’s character – She just wasn’t fleshed out enough, which is a shame since she started out as Meng’s best friend. I wanted to see more of that beyond them just talking about the future and Lin manipulating Meng to hook her up with Zhang. The most we got was that she liked Zhang and that she was manipulative.

Some of Zhang’s actions – Initially he is pretty stalkery in the beginning and at one point starts a physical fight with Meng when he is going through his heartbreak, afterwords he accepts her…but the fact that the physical fighting ever came up is an issue. I wish it had been presented negatively, instead it is just kind of brushed over.

It was a great film that I would definitely recommend. I hope to find some similar films here in the States. Any movie that deals respectfully with the coming out experience and recognizing LGBTQ rights while telling a good story is worth watching.

I would give this film 8.4 / 10. It is a solid film and well worth seeing. Hopefully in the future we can see more movies like this from all over the world.

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