Suk Suk {Melbourne International Film Festival} – Film Review

Directed and written by Ray Yeung, Suk Suk is a Hong Kong drama film that showcases the idea of finding love and discovering who you really are, despite against all social norms and traditional family ideals in an ever-growing society.

70-year-old Pak (Tai Bo) is a taxi driver who insists to his family, consisting of wife Ching (Patra Au Ga Man) and their two adult children, that he is not ready for retirement just yet. However, on one of his many taxi drives by himself, Pak’s life takes a turn for the new when he decides it is time to finally explore his long-hidden homosexuality and go cruising. While exploring a neighbourhood park, Pak meets Hoi (Ben Yuen), a retired 65-year-old divorcé. At first, Pak takes a direct approach to the man and initiates a hookup but Hoi refuses and suggests that they should become good friends first before any of that sort of thing could happen. What follows from here on is a journey of two elderly men in their twilight years just finding their true love, or at the very least, someone who loves and understands them completely in a world that makes them feel potentially lonely and hidden of true feelings, whether or not chance meetings like this during a lifetime are worthy of a happy outcome or not.

The two lead actors Tai Bo and Ben Yuen who play Pak and Hoi respectively, portray very believable on-screen lovers that showcase some great chemistry as two men who just understand one another on some level. It is truly shown here in just the way Bo and Yuen simply look at each other with longing gazes after having a romantic moment together, or just having finished a conversation about their lives.

Ironically, to me, it’s moments like this when the film has no dialogue that Suk Suk is at its loudest; just with its cinematography and imagery of two men spending time together whether it be in a house, overlooking the water or sitting on a park bench together, it is clear these two have a special kind of love and connection that they never have had with anyone else.

Their true selves are being exposed and out in the open with each other in a culture where it’s not exactly easy to come out and be who you truly are. This is especially in Pak’s case, if you happen to still be in a heterosexual marriage. I adored seeing these two men just ‘get’ one another when they spend time with each other and the acting from Bo and Yuen is truly fantastic.

Writer-Director Ray Yeung manages to create a film that, thankfully, does not feel over dramatic in its storytelling nor decides to be cliché when it comes to telling gay stories in media. As mentioned earlier, Suk Suk is really great because the film takes a slower and softer approach to the way we are seeing these two men accept themselves for who they really are in an authentic way, all while dealing with other themes shown to the audience such as ageism and religion, as well as the barricades these men face on their journey as mentioned earlier, and for this I appreciated it.

Suk Suk shows that regardless of your age or sexuality, you always have time to meet that special someone that just understands you on a level that no other human being can, ever.

Suk Suk is available to watch online as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival’s (MIFF) online showcase ‘MIFF 68½’ between the 6th of August and 23rd of August.
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