The Panda Candy (Banned in China)
A kind of Chinese Nine Songs, mapping a new generation of rebellious youth and the story of lesbian love. Banned in China.
A great example of Chinese Underground filmmaking, Panda Candy is directed by Peng Lei, frontman of Beijing New Wave band New Pants, who provide most of the excellent soundtrack and apparently recruited actresses for the film at their concerts. Filmed in a neo-documentary style, the film is a non-narrative exploration of rebellious Chinese youth and lesbian love set against the backdrop of the underground rock scene.
Like a more innocent take on Nine Songs, the film alternates scenes at rock concerts and karaoke bars, with those of young people connecting and disconnecting through sex. The main focus is two girls: Chun, who has a string of disappointing encounters with skateboard kids and self absorbed poets; and Taki, a stunningly beautiful lesbian on tour with her friend’s band and recording her erotic encounters in each town. The film’s atmosphere of sexual longing and alienation is well judged thanks to Lei’s excellent use of editing techniques. As an introduction to Taki’s erotic travelogue, he uses a rapid montage of shots from different angles and locations to express her disconnection from life, whilst her final sexual encounter with Chun is filmed in long sensual close ups, suggesting she has found stability through sex.