Boys for Beauty

TAIWAN / 1998 / Taiwanese / Color / Video /63 min

Director, Photography, Sound, Editing, Narration: Mickey Chen
Music: Chen Chan-chie
Production Company, Source: Taiwan Queer Pride Image House
No. 92, 4F, Hsin-Sheng South Rd, sec. 3, Taipei 106 TAIWAN
Phone & Fax: 886-2-2364-3596
E-mail: gaykid@ms15.hinet.net

Mickey Chen

Born in Taiwan in 1967, born to be gay and learned to be a queer documentarist. First major in English and American Literature at National Taiwan University but closeted and unhappy at that time. In 1991, served in the Taiwanese army and got to know boyfriend there. Happily lived together for 8 years, eventually broke up. In 1996, finished studies in the City College of New York and traveled around the film festival circuit with Not Simply a Wedding Banquet (1997), my first documentary co-produced with Mia Chen. Now single and available and on diet, traveling with my new-born baby, Boys for Beauty (1998) with an eternal e-mail account, gaykid@ms15.hinet.net.

A frank and entertaining portrait of three gay teenagers and their family relations in Confucian Chinese society. An exceptional theatrical success in Taipei, it marks a major achievement for a documentary anywhere in Asia. Understandably receptive to word-of-mouth publicity, the film's charm is contagious. It's not that the boys are born performers; they are naturals because the filmmaker provides them with a trusting platform.

Director's Statement

Being a queer documentarist in Taiwan, I try my best to figure out a way of survival. Getting grants, persuading people to come out to show gayness and lesbianism...a lot of hard work forces me to become very very independent. Boys for Beauty is a great relief for me, as it allows me to return to the innocence of queer youth. I learned a lot from these flaming kids and got to know more about documentary - the genre that empowers me these years.
Fifteen years ago, a queer high school kid like me in Taipei couldn't speak up, didn't have any gay or lesbian role models. We had no queer visions. At that time, I had so many queer brothers and sisters who loved the ' wrong' one, I mean, those straight people who wouldn't love them in return. Many of us even tried committing suicide at that young age. Many years passed by; finally, I grabbed my camera to explore the new generation, the brave new queer world.
Boys for Beauty turned out to be a box office hit in Taiwan in 1999. The whole queer community mobilized and put a lot of effort in making this documentary a legend. Furthermore, we can say there'd been a golden decade of documentary in Taiwan, created and circulated by the persistently hard-working documentary group Full Shot. With such a beautiful heritage, we young filmmakers will continue our voyage of making more and more diverse and outspoken documentaries.
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COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee