Saturday, March 24, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Lost in Paradise is a 2011 Vietnamese drama film directed by Vũ Ngọc Đãng. Its original title is Rebellious Hot Boy and the Story of Cười, the Prostitute and the Duck (Hot boy nổi loạn và câu chuyện về thằng Cười, cô gái điếm và con vịt), shortened to Rebellious Hot Boy (Hot boy nổi loạn) or simply Hot Boy. The film is set in Saigon and has two separate story lines. The first depicts a love triangle between three male prostitutes, Lam, Khôi and Đông. The second concerns a mentally-handicapped man, Cười, his friendship with Hạnh, a prostitute, and his attempts to raise a duckling. The film was a strong critical and commercial success in Vietnam. It has been shown at several international festivals, from which it garnered more mixed reviews. In particular its portrayal of homosexuality has been noted as ground breaking within the context of Vietnamese cinema.
The film is set in Saigon, where Khôi arrives from Nha Trang after being disowned by his family on account of his homosexuality. Đông befriends him and invites him to share an apartment along with Lam, who is -unbeknownst to Khôi- Đông's lover. At the apartment, Đông and Lam rob him of his money and belongings; Đông in turn abandons Lam and flees with the cash. Lam later happens upon an injured Khôi sleeping rough. In pity he returns the latter's clothes and identity papers and after a tentative reconciliation the two become friends and ultimately lovers. Lam returns to his life as a prostitute while Khôi attempts to work as a bookseller. A returning, manipulative Đông dogs the couple which culminates in Lam wounding his antagonist with a stab to the foot. Khôi eventually leaves Lam because of the latter's work as a prostitute. An increasingly desperate Lam takes to robbing his clients at knife-point; a gang of men in the employ of one such victim kills Lam at the film's climax.
The film’s second plot concerns a mentally-handicapped man named Cười and his endeavors to raise a duckling, while intermittently attempting to befriend a prostitute, Hạnh. This enrages her pimp who takes to beating both as a deterrent. The initially hostile Hạnh warms to Cười as his duckling grows. At the film’s close, the pimp's threat to eat Cười's duck prompts Hạnh to club her and an enforcer to death.