DocEdge 16 | Inside the Chinese Closet

China | Mandarin / English | 2015 | 72 min | Feature film | Sophia Luvarà

Inside the Chinese Closet is a look into the life and struggle of what it means to be Chinese and Gay in a modern society, bound by the social and cultural expectations of family. It focuses on two contrasting situations; Andy lives in urban Shanghai, and is searching for a lesbian psuedo-wife of convenience to bear his child and appease his family. Socially active, with a calm self-confidence, he is challenged by these social constructs; although his father may to accept his lifestyle to a degree – it is still referred to as ‘his issue’, and something to solve. His journey explores his options, including IVF, surrogates & adoption.

Cherry is a different personality entirely. From countryside China; she is emotionally sombre, and possibly procrastinating when it comes to the task of actually procuring a child. Many complications prolong the process, to the very apparent frustration of her parents. Her Father especially seems to rule with an iron fist, while her endearing Mother tries to understand her daughters homosexuality (and fails).

What I came to realise early on is that there is a real sense of unity in China’s Gay community, as their situation is unique, and they are stuck in this in-between place; a forward moving, industrious China vs. cultural tradition. Andy and Cherry are very real people; Sophia Luvarà illustrates this with beauty and sensitivity.

I would highly recommend adding ‘Inside the Chinese Closet’ to your view-list, premiering in New Zealand this May at the DocEdge Film Festival. Get your tickets HERE.

The 11th DocEdge Festival takes place in Wellington 4-15 May and Auckland 18-29 May.