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The Raccoon
1 people found this review helpful
Mar 30, 2017
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 8.5
As with North Sea Texas this one was soft and gentle while being set apart from the larger general society. In North Sea Texas it was a small and slow town on the Dutch coast. In this one it's a university in China where peers rule in dorm relationships and where the only faculty member represented was jovial and positive about the two boys holding hands in her class of Chinese Lit majors. The movie in fact originated as a project by Chinese Lit majors but took hold of an increasingly large group of admirers and benefactors to become a complete movie production.

The conflict here is among a three student BL triangle. The adorabe puppy dog cute and sweet Xiao An is courted by the slender and handsome initiator Maocai while the lean and passive Si longs silently for Xiao An, aka San. As with North Sea Texas action is slow but each holds the viewer in its own interesting and quiet, intense, sometimes teary way. While NST got to the intimacy quickly, The Raccoon did it in the Chinese way: meet to chat for a period of weeks, then a light hug, then after a few more weeks an embrace, at long last a kiss followed not too long afterward by the event itself. Because of the intense script and acting it's easy for the viewer to acquiesce to the step by step and often tumultous methodological Chinese way of courtship that continues to be the mode among college students in the People's Republic.

Indeed, when Xiao An finally gets seduced by Maocai it occurs at the end of a night of drinking after the successful student stage play in which Maocai was the "lead boy." The naked San waking in the hotel bed the morning after is both shocked and convincing when he says to the equally naked Maocai that he doesn't remember a thing. San however -- remarkably and with an on the spot total surprise to the viewer -- flips completely to initiate his own spontaneous passion play which in turn defines the interrelationships among Xiao An, Maocai and Si to the film's conclusion.

The criticism here is in the formal nature of relationships in Chinese culture that is reflected in the movie production. Plus the predominant Chinese personality as a people, i.e., not warm interactions. All the same, the young lady student pursuing Maocai is unusually pleasant as Chinese go, not to mention easily understanding of Maocai's polite disinterest of her. She moreover accepts with a certain fate San's inadvertent hold on Maocai, and the fact of San getting Si to skulk around on the QT together and away from Maocai's awareness, which anyway doesn't always work out for the clandestine two.

As with the Chinese Lit professor, the gal is another young Chinese to include the male roommates who accept love per se when they see it. And they see it each day as Maocai pursues the determinedly chaste San. Their roommates, friends and acquaintances simply and normatively refer to San as "the little wife." So while the ending suggests one thing it could also be quite another. For all the viewer knows the triangle could possibly still be on and the story is likely to be continuing. Then again maybe not. The one matter beyond dispute is that life goes on which is always the welcome conclusion to any such story.

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