Based on the anonymously published internet novel Beijing Story
, Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan's feature boldly tackles a number of subjects that are still taboo in contemporary China, including homosexuality, the senseless violence of Tiananmen Square and the sexual exploitation of poor provincial Chinese emigrants who become big city prostitutes. Lan Yu (Liu Ye) is one such emigrant. He comes to Beijing from the rural northeast to study architecture, but is soon supporting himself by exchanging sex for money. His very first client is Chen Handong (Hu Jun), a flashy, fully yuppified partner in a successful construction company. For Handong, the encounter is...