Queer Asian treats

Two other Asian countries present queer treats at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, offering both humorous and dramatic perspectives on gay life.

Japan has two.

In Hush!, funky pet groomer Naoya meets shy scientist Katsuhiro and love blooms between the two men. Their relationship is complicated by the arrival of Asako, a mixed-up young woman who decides that Katsuhiro would be the perfect father for her baby. Director Hashiguchi Ryosuke (Like Grains Of Sand) drags out the drama but includes some nice moments of humour and a quirky cast of supporting characters. It plays Thu, Sep 9, 8:30pm, Varsity 4 & 5 (55 Bloor W); and Tue, Sep 11, 11:30am, Uptown 3 (764 Yonge).

Boys in teeny tiny Speedos fill the screen in The Waterboys, a candy-coloured comedy based on the true story of a Japanese boys school launching a synchronized swim team. Aiming for the feel-good, empowering vibe of last year’s festival fave The Iron Ladies (about the Thai volleyball team made up of fags, transsexuals and drag queens), The Waterboys swims in the shallow end of the pool, forcing laughs from over-the-top performances and contrived situations, and barely giving the few gay characters one dimension, let alone two. Fri, Sep 7, 9:45pm, Isabel Bader Theatre (xxx xxx); and Sat, Sep 8, 12:30pm, Uptown 1.

The Philippines offers the other queer Asian flick. Markova: Comfort Gay examines the life of one man during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, and reveals a previously hidden chapter in gay history. Markova, forced into prostitution like so many “comfort women” of the period by the Japanese forces, is witness to the brutality and oppression, not only of the invaders, but also of his own countrymen. Fri, Sep 7, 7pm, Uptown 3; and Sun, Sep 9, noon, Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queen’s Park).

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