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The Bright Future Short section of the International Film Festival Rotterdam is one of the most significant showcases for moving image works by visual artists who refuse to be pinpointed to existing genres or styles. One title already confirmed is The Glamorous Boys of Tang by Su Hui-Yu, who over the past decade has established himself as one of Taiwan’s leading video artists.
Text by Helena Kritis
I was still only a visitor of the IFFR festival in 2016 when I saw Hui-Yu’s Super Taboo, a delicious fever dream of a film based on a pornographic book from the ’80s. It was unlike anything I’d seen contemporary artists do, recreating the erotic imaginations of this random white-collar worker in a dreamy forest: think kinky tableaus of river-stream orgies in slow motion.
This time I was excited to be personally involved in selecting his new film, The Glamorous Boys of Tang, which is a further step in revisiting old books and films that were censored or misunderstood due to their scandalous content. The film is a recreation of the 1985 homoerotic movie aptly titled Tang Dynasty Beautiful Male. Hui-Yu’s version is again set in this magical forest and includes a parade of flirtatious men and women in period dress as well as a ritual killing of a female warrior. A peculiar film brimming with naked bodies, gender ambiguity and lots of blood and glitter, it’s going to look absolutely bonkers on the big screen.
Helena Kritis is (audio)visual arts programmer at Beursschouwburg and member of the selection committee of IFFR’s Bright Future Short