The Glamorous Boys of Tang (1985, Qiu Gang-Jian), four channel installation, 2018

The Glamorous Boys of Tang (1985, Qiu Gang-Jian), four channel installation, 2018

In 1985, two years before the end of Taiwan’s martial law period, the renowned poet and screenwriter Chui Kang-Chien’s (邱剛健) Tang Chao Chi Li Nan (trans: The Glamorous Boys of Tang) was first screened in Taiwan. The film is a homoerotic fantasy, and was therefore not well received due to the conservative atmosphere at the time. The film’s first scene is an inexplicable exorcism ceremony which includes dancing. Next, two pretty boys appear, and when their eyes meet, the scene is suffused with their mutual fascination. The plot also includes disturbing killings, death, and orgies accompanied by dissonant sound effects made with a synthesizer, bizarre and gaudy set design, and ill considered costumes. The combined effect is something like a cult film. Comparing the film to the script held in the Taiwan Film Institute archives, it is obvious that the film has been heavily edited or many sequences could not be depicted in detail. Perhaps the filmmakers could not fully present the radicalism and passion of the screenplay due to budget restrictions, censorship, or marketing concerns. More than thirty years later, with new funding and film technology, Su Huiyu has re-created the film to call together the differently gendered bodies and subcultures of Taiwan’s diverse society. The four channel piece can be seen as a re-shooting, a re-narration of the original 1985 version, or the next leg of its journey.

1985年,知名詩人與劇作家邱剛健首執導筒的《唐朝綺麗男》在台上映,這部實驗意圖強烈的電影在票房與評價上似乎不若邱剛健以往的成績。該劇由俊俏的楊帆、鈕承澤與港星夏文汐主演。攝影指導為台灣攝影家張照堂,並由他與香港藝術家麥顯揚一同擔任美術指導,詩人管管與吳念真亦客串演出,顯見這在當時是一非典型製作。《唐朝綺麗男》第一幕即是一場莫名所以的儺舞儀式,隨後安排兩位俊美男主角的出場,四目交接的鏡頭令人感到一種男男之間的魅惑。該劇雖然沒有太多裸露鏡頭,但劇情併置了諸如殺戮、死亡與雜交的場面,時時令人感到不安。音樂則大量應用不和諧的合成器音效,輔以光怪陸離的美術場景與不甚考據的誇張服飾,種種蛛絲馬跡皆顯現著邱剛健與西方電影經典的對話企圖,並讓這件作品帶著邪典電影的況味。然而遺留下來的原著劇本,《唐朝綺麗男》有諸多場景在電影中或被刪去,或未能精細地描寫,又或者因為當年的審查與市場問題而未能正面呈現其激進與激情。三十多年後,透過新的資源與影像技法,並號召當今多元社會景況下各類身體與次文化社群之集結,蘇匯宇的《唐朝綺麗男(邱剛健,1985)》或可被視作是其1985年原版的補述,補拍,或者下一段旅程。