Hu Du Men | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Hu Du Men

The title of this entertaining 1996 Hong Kong movie, also known as Stage Door, is a Cantonese opera term for the imaginary line separating the stage from backstage, which becomes emblematic of the divisions in the story. That story, adapted by Raymond To Kwok-wai from his own play, concerns the producer and star of a Cantonese opera company (Josephine Siao) who's about to abandon her career to emigrate to Australia with her husband and adopted daughter. (The anticipation of Hong Kong's return to China is a major theme here, as it is in many recent Hong Kong films.) The adopted daughter is showing lesbian tendencies, and the heroine, a specialist in male roles, is experiencing some gender confusion of her own. Director Shu Kei--the most outspoken film critic of the Hong Kong film scene, as well as a programmer, novelist, and prolific screenwriter who's worked for the likes of Anne Hui, Yim Ho, and John Woo--navigates issues of genre and gender with wit and aplomb. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16, 4:00, 312-443-3737. --Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

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