Reviewed by Tiffany Ran
Northwest Asian Weekly
Protagonist Khôi moves to Ho Chi Minh City, after his family rejects him for being gay. However, the big city is not the paradise that Khôi expected. In this coming-of-age story, naïve Khôi unwittingly trusts two gay men and agrees to move into their apartment. The two men steal his possessions, causing Khôi to live on the streets. After Lam, a prostitute and one of the thieves that initially stole Khôi’s possessions, happens upon Khôi in his struggling state, he returns Khôi’s items and invites Khôi to stay with him. The two engage in a passionate relationship.
The film’s delicate treatment of Lam and Khôi’s sexuality is its greatest strength. Both characters address their sexuality in different ways and are forced to examine their love, their bodies, and their sense of self. Often, the two young men lash out at one another, place themselves in harm’s way, or succumb to their raw emotions of love, loss, and desire. As with its treatment of the characters, the film also portrays the duality of Ho Chi Minh City, from its diverse and bustling center to its seedier underbelly. The film, mostly a tender and often humorous romance, is also one where characters develop in complex and heart-wrenching ways and viewers root for them every step of the way. (end)
“Lost in Paradise” showtimes:
June 2 at 7 p.m. at Harvard Exit
June 5 at 3p.m. at SIFF Cinema Uptown