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  • East Palace West Palace [DVD] [1996] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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East Palace West Palace [DVD] [1996] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]


Price: £8.88
Only 1 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by supermart_usa.
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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.
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Product details

  • Language: Cantonese Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00019GI9C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,346 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By George Redelinghuys on 21 Aug. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a rare gem of Chinese film making, and the director and actors should be respected for their brave effort to give us in the free West a glimpse into the claustrophobic suppression of thought and emotion in a totalitarian society. The acting is outstanding and the two actors keep our attention for the whole duration of this film. On the whole this film is not a minor achievement and deserves wider distribution and appreciation.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By carwendish on 27 Feb. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is base on wong xiao bo's book which is the same name. wong and his wife Li yin he have writed the story for her research on the homosexual of man. In the west , many people know Ang Lee's film Brokenback Mountain. this film is a oriental homo story like BM on certain point,but not all.
In 1997 the Chinese government put director 'Zhang, Yuan' under house arrest and confiscated his passport. His friends smuggled this movie out of the country so it could be shown at the 1997 Cannes film festival___by imdb
In china , only a few people know this film, in fact , the few people have labeled it as a gay film,but I think more than "gay"
Chinese goverment don't like their people say to many on the sex , so the political enviroment is like their attitude on the sex, zhang want to show this homo story to reflect our politcs. If you know something about the chinese democracy revolution, then you can watch this movie and understand it's meaning easily.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Where's the palace? 27 Aug. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Zhang Yuan's relationship with the Chinese authorities, never especially cordial, reached an all-time low with East Palace West Palace. The problem was the subject matter - homosexuality in Bejing. (The title refers to a meeting place for gays - public toilets in spitting distance of The Forbidden Palace.) When the film was selected for Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Festival, the director had his passport confiscated. No official reasons were given for this sanction, but in the West it was presumed that the had broken an unwritten law - homosexuality is still considered taboo in Chinese cinema. Inevitably, the controversy raised the film's profile.
"I was astonished to find out that the Beijing homosexuals knew the parks where the best-looking police were," Zhang commented when asked to explain what inspired the film. "They like the uniforms: there's an incredibly direct connection between sex and power." The story concerns a young gay writer (Si Han) who has the temerity to confront a heterosexual cop (Hu Jun). At first, the cop, who arrests him, is disgusted by his antics, but when the couple spend an evening in each other's presence, the policeman becomes fascinated with his provocative young prisoner who goads him to behave ever more brutally. However much he tries to suppress it, the cop seems attracted to the writer.
East Palace West Palace was made on a tight budget of around $260,000 (with support from The Hubert Bals Fund). Critics in Cannes and elsewhere were as impressed with Zhang's formal mastery as with his willingness to tackle uncompromising material. The consensus was that the film, which has also been produced as a play, showed a technical virtuosity which some of his earlier work had lacked. They also noted how the director successfully coaxed subtle but intense performances from his two leads.
Zhang Yuan is already well-known to Rotterdam audiences (his 1995 effort Erzi (Sons) won a Tiger Award). East Palace, West Palace is likely to confirm his reputation as one of the most innovative and iconoclastic young directors working in Chinese cinema.
I believe this movie is still banned in China, but the word must have spreaded around underground. If you are gay and anywhere related to Beijing, you must have heard of the "East Palace" and "West Palace", two famous gay cruising public WC near TianAnMen in Beijing. This movie borrowed the popular name, but is not about the life in the WC. It is about the obsessing and confusing between a gay and a policeman. It is the first gay movie out of mainland China, and is well received worldwide. The movie will be released in America late part of the year.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Interesting story of repression of gays in China 19 Dec. 2003
By Bob Lind - Published on Amazon.com
"Dong gong xi gong (East Palace West Palace)" (1996; also released under the title "Behind the Forbidden City" in 1998) is a rather unique story about the overnight detention of a young gay Chinese man, A Lan, who was caught having sex with a man in a park near the Forbidden Palace in Beijing. Although homosexuality was not actually illegal during the time in which the film is set, gays in that country were routinely harrassed by the police, who could detain and arrest them for "hooliganism". The film unreels as A Lan tells his captor, a young park policeman named Xiao Shi, about his life, including his gradual realization that he was gay, and his experiences and yearnings. He reveals that he is married, which makes him a bit of an outcast among his other gay friends who gather at the park. His childhood recollections somewhat explain why he has a particular fascination to big, male authority figures who treat him badly, including his police captor. The policeman, who consistently called A Lan "disgusting" and worthy of shame, is also fighting his own fascination with the boy's story, and his growing attraction to him as well.

From what I have read in a couple of other reviews, the film has considerable political relevance in that it was the first Chinese film to criticize the government's hypocritical treatment of homosexuals. The film's director was reportedly arrested in 1997, and it is only because of friends' actions that the film was smuggled out of the country, where it was featured at the Cannes film festival. Obviously, I can't comment or judge based on political or cultural relevance, but the story itself is intriguing, the cinematography and direction excellent, and I was especially intrigued with Si Han, the young actor who played A Lan, who probably had constant, dramatic dialogue during 60 of the film's 94 minutes...
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Hauntingly Beautiful 15 Aug. 2000
By T. R. Rak - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Si Han performs brilliantly as A-Lan, a young gay writer who falls madly in love with Shi, a macho police officer (played by Hu Jun) who has arrested and proceeds to interrogate him intensively. A key idea to understanding this film is that there is no such thing as love, real compassionate devotionate unconditional love, without at least some element(s) or component(s) of suffering or genuine sacrifice involved. Si Han's powerful acting renders A-Lan's ardent passion, suffering and compassion into vivid cinematic actualization, translated very well to VHS with excellent subtitling.
There is mystery, subtlety, subtext, metaphor and allusion in this movie which only heighten the audience's interest. What, for example, is A-Lan referring to exactly when he speaks of his being "married?" We are captivated by this mesmerizing captive as he gradually unveils his story, and his soul, to the cop, his captor, his tormentor, possibly even his executioner, yet at the same time his deeply beloved.
In the hands of a lesser director this film might've failed on any number of levels, but Zhang Yuan has crafted a jewel, a delicate labor of love no less. This film reminds the reviewer of the sort of humanistic psychology reminiscent of Carl Rogers, also the kinds of healing breakthroughs achieved by Gong Shu, art therapist and acclaimed student of psychodrama's cofounder Zerka Moreno. "East Palace, West Palace" is so imbrued with hope, care, sensitivity and metanoia for and towards its characters that one gets the feeling these actors (and actresses) all of them are Yuan's own beloved children. With a gentle but firm, parental hand he directs and guides his exceptional cast to incredible fruition in their compelling portrayals and core revelations.
There is something for everyone here. There is fantastic and poignant humor; one will come away never thinking of "bus" in quite the same light ever again. There is sex; lots of it, gobs of it, sometimes even extremely violent sex, though rendered all-the-more powerfully precisely because much of it is left to that ocean of sensuality and eroticism itself, the theatre of the mind. And there are moments in this movie where your eyes will well with tears, and you will welcome them.
If it is true that, as comparative mytheologian Joseph Campbell insists, "from sacrifice comes bliss," then the many and great sacrifices Zhang Yuan made to bring "East Palace, West Palace" to us are rewarded in the exceptional bliss which you will discover and engage in this rare, precious and life-giving gem from Beijing. Please don't miss it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An excellent film 20 Mar. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Beautifully made and mesmerizing film. Very sensuous, satisfying and somewhat poetic. Two leading actors are superb. In many ways, the film is a masterpiece.

The action progresses slowly, as one Chinese policemen (played by Jun Hu) notices and arrests a young gay regular in a park (which is apparently used a "socializing" / hook-up place for gay men in Beijing). During the overnight interrogation process, the young man (brilliantly depicted by Si Han) pulls the conservative policeman in the whirl of his passion, his conflicting emotions and thoughts via an intricate web of the memories he shares with the policeman. The movie centers on the dialogue between the two during a quiet night at the police station, and continuous flashbacks of the scenes from his past that Si Han shares with the policeman.

The ending is climatic and with an unexpected and somewhat surreal twist. Watch it!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Hauntingly Beautiful 22 Aug. 2000
By T. R. Rak - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Si Han performs brilliantly as A-Lan, a young gay writer who falls madly in love with Shi, a macho police officer (played by Hu Jun) who has arrested and proceeds to interrogate him intensively. A key idea to understanding this film is that there is no such thing as love, real compassionate devotionate unconditional love, without at least some element(s) or component(s) of suffering and genuine sacrifice involved. Si Han's powerful acting renders A-Lan's ardent passion, suffering and compassion into vivid cinematic actualization, translated very well to VHS with excellent subtitling.
There is mystery, subtlety, subtext, metaphor and allusion in this movie which only heighten the audience's interest. What, for example, is A-Lan referring to exactly when he speaks of his being "married?" We are captivated by this mesmerizing captive as he gradually unveils his story, and his soul, to the cop, his captor, his tormentor, possibly even his executioner, yet at the same time his deeply beloved.
In the hands of a lesser director this film might've failed on any number of levels, but Zhang Yuan has crafted a jewel, a delicate labor of love. This film reminds the reviewer of the sort of humanistic psychology practiced by Carl Rogers, also the kinds of healing breakthroughs achieved by Gong Shu, art therapist and acclaimed student of psychodrama's cofounder Zerka Moreno. "East Palace, West Palace" is so imbrued with hope, care, sensitivity and metanoia for and towards its characters that one gets the impression these actors (and actresses) all of them are Yuan's own beloved children. With a gentle but firm, parental hand he directs and guides his exceptional cast to incredible fruition in their compelling portrayals and core revelations.
There is something for everyone here. There is fantastic and poignant humor; one will come away never thinking of "bus" in quite the same light ever again. There is sex; lots of it, gobs of it, sometimes even extremely violent sex, though rendered all-the-more powerfully precisely because much of it is left to that ocean of sensuality and polymorphous eroticism itself, the theatre of the mind. And there are moments in this movie where your eyes will well with tears, and you will welcome them.
If it is true that, as comparative mytheologian Joseph Campbell insists, "from sacrifice comes bliss," then the many and great sacrifices Zhang Yuan made to bring "East Palace, West Palace" to us are rewarded in the exceptional bliss you will discover and engage in this rare, precious and life-giving gem from Beijing. Please don't miss it.
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