One of the most exciting developments in GLBT cinema the last few years has been the growing number of Asian films dealing with subjects of interest to our community. Countries where the mere mention of homosexuality has historically been taboo -- Japan, China, Korea and Thailand, among others -- are suddenly turning out GLBT movies by the dozens. This is good news not only for reasons of artistic diversity but political and cultural tolerance.
Outfest 2008 is debuting several of the latest productions from Asian filmmakers, including Drifting Flowers, by Spider Lilies writer-director Zero Chou, and The Love of Siam. First up, though, is Koji Kawano’s Love My Life, which is premiering tonight.
Adapted from a popular Japanese manga by Ebine Yamaji, Love My Life is a very good romantic comedy about a teenage lesbian’s coming of age. Its plot and style recalled for me such 1980’s John Hughes comedies as Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink, and its peppy song score by the pop-rock band Noodles cements the comparison.
Ichiko (funny and cute Rei Yoshii) takes her girlfriend, Eri (played by Asami Imajuku), home to meet her widowed father, thereby announcing her homosexuality to him. But Ichiko’s father has a surprising announcement for her: he and her late mother were both gay! Ichiko first struggles to come to terms with this news, and later with Eri’s withdrawal from her. But don’t worry: true to the spirit of Molly Ringwald, everything ends up sunnily for the best.
If you are interested in seeing Love My Life but can’t make it to Los Angeles for Outfest, don’t fret: the film is being released on DVDby Wolfe Video on July 15. Whether you are lesbian or gay, Asian or Latino, its story is, as the best stories always are, universal.
Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.