Director Ray Yeung breaks new ground with Suk Suk (‘uncle’ in Cantonese), an affecting portrayal of two gay men in modern Hong Kong as they find each other in their later years and struggle with enduring matters of identity, desire and belonging.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2020
70-year-old married taxi driver Pak meets single-father Hoi, 65, on a park bench. The two embark on a friendship which quickly develops into a secret relationship, cautious but genuine: they swap stories of their pasts during clandestine trysts at a gay sauna, laugh together while winding through the fruit stands of a wet market, and savour hidden moments of intimacy in secluded spaces.
But there are limitations to their love story. Hoi has a devoutly Christian son and a close bond with his granddaughter he can’t lose; Pak is settled into the comfortable routine of a decades-long marriage. They’re skittish about spending time in public together, and when Hoi attends meetings led by an activist group lobbying to establish a rest home for the gay community, we better understand what it means to be out in Hong Kong society – and not just out, but out and without youth on your side.
Yeung’s third feature, awarded Best Film at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, is culturally intelligent, depicting the realities of Pak and Hoi’s familial situations – framed by traditional Chinese values – without judgement, and instead explores different nuances of what it means to be happy with assuredness, having been inspired by true accounts of elderly gay men living in Hong Kong. Sure, it would have been easy to lean into melodrama, but Suk Suk never does; its smart observations lie in the intricacies of everyday lives. — Jean Teng
About the Filmmaker
Ray Yeung is a Hong Kong-born director. He received a master’s degree in filmmaking from Columbia University in 2008. His three feature films to date have explored queer representation in Chinese culture.
Selected filmography: Front Cover (2015), Cut Sleeve Boys (2006)