Hu Du Men | Chicago Reader

Hu Du Men

The title of this entertaining Hong Kong movie (1996), also known as Stage Door, is a Cantonese opera term for the imaginary line separating the stage from backstage, and it becomes emblematic of the various crossovers in the story itself. Adapted by Raymond To Kwow-wai from his own play, it 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 the mainland 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. Shu Kei, the director—a central figure in the Hong Kong film scene who is known as its most outspoken film critic, as a prolific screenwriter who's worked for the likes of Ann Hui, Yim Ho, and John Woo, and as a programmer and novelist—navigates genre and gender alike with wit and aplomb.

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