This much-talked-about film promises a lot more than it delivers. To begin with, the theme of two elderly men coming out of the closet in their twilight years is emboldened by the director’s firm resolve to see the unconventional relationship to its logical end. However in a classic interpretation of the flesh is strong but the spirit being weak, the narrative, so audacious and elegant to begin with, ends off in a whimper wintry send-off that leaves the relationship dangling in midair.
Nonetheless, it is laudable while it lasts. Most of the mainstream gay films have uncommonly good-looking protagonists (e.g Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name, Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite). In Twilight's Kiss/Suk Suk (which means Uncle Uncle) the two protagonists are what they are: two old men belatedly discovering the pleasures of homosexuality.
Considering their age their coming out may not only seem delayed but also unnecessary and irrelevant to us. Not to them, though. To mutually discover a secret world that they have denied themselves all their lives is a ritual like the secret unlocking of the door to the magical room. Pak, a 70-year old taxi driver with a large family, and Hoi, a retired family-less loner plunge deep into their joyful exploration.
There are scenes of the two enjoying more than just each other’s company in parks and in sauna baths (apparently the latter is a favourite homosexual haunt in Hong Kong). Through all the journey that Pak and Hoi undertake director, Ray Yeung furnishes their relationship with wonderment and tragedy. You wish this had happened to Pak and Hoi at least 20 years earlier, if not together than separately. You wish that these over-the-hill lovers would just stop. Self-fulfilment especially of the kind that would shatter families doesn’t seem right. It’s like masturbation at 70.
Perhaps this distant revulsion that we feel watching Pak and Hoi’s togetherness is what the film wants us to set aside. For a brief while, we do. But eventually, we are happy to see this wrinkled love story fade away. For all its guts and grit, not to mention some compelling acting by the two leads especially Tai Bo, Twilight’s Kiss doesn’t quite make out a convincing case for two men making out at a time when they ought to be preparing for another world.
Directed by Ray Yeung Twilight Kiss gets 2 and a half stars.
Image source: Wikipedia