A Lock with No Key

A Lock with No Key (Rain Sun, 2019)

There are different kinds of queer stories out there. A Lock with No Key (把風, literally “Lookout”) isn’t about love, exactly, or the prettier, more progressive side of Taiwanese society that the country likes to showcase to the outside world.  The 2019 short film, recently released on GagaOOlala, is about a group of restless young punks who revel in mercilessly, violently bullying a high-school classmate, Ch’ien Wan-ta, and about the eponymous lookout of the group, Ch’en Chen-k’ang, who is drawn to this tight-lipped target for reasons he doesn’t quite seem to understand or accept. His various attempts to reach out or get closer to Ch’ien Wan-ta are almost always translated into the vernacular of taunts, the only language his friend group speaks, and thus fall flat. While he repeatedly intervenes to lessen the punishments doled out to him in ways that no one else can see, Ch’en Chen-k’ang never stops them—that is, until it’s finally the enabler’s turn to hit or get hit.

酷兒的故事有很多種。《把風》確切的說,表現的不是愛情,也不是台灣喜歡向國際表現帶著進步價值、光鮮亮麗的一面。 這部2019年的短片近期於GagaOOlala上架,描述了一群躁動不安,以對高中同學錢萬達施暴做樂的小混混。故事環繞著為其把風的陳振康,他自己的一種似乎無法理解或接受的原因,被這首口如瓶的受害者吸引。他多次想親近或更理解錢萬達,卻總是失敗的以嘲諷或恐嚇的話語表現,因為這是他身旁好友們唯一溝通方式。雖然他暗中利用不同方式干預以減輕對他的折磨,但陳振康從不阻止他們——是說,直到最終輪到縱容者自己必須打或被打的那天。

Online, the little buzz garnered by the short, which is wisely paced and reasonably well shot, seems to revolve around objections to the relentless physical, emotional, and even quasi-sexual abuse depicted—a sad-but-understandable byproduct of moralistic calls for “positive representation” that leave no room for the ethical ambiguities of actual queer people and experience. The film is not a traditional romance but instead a more realistic portrayal of simmering desire and unnamed fascination, and about the difficulty of unlocking better ways of getting close to someone at the tender, restless age of seventeen when the only tools one has are at one’s disposal are those provided by a culture rife with toxic masculinity.

這部短片,節奏掌握、拍攝品質得整體不錯,但在網上的小轟動似乎環繞在反對短片中不斷的身體、心理,甚至接近性虐待的場面——這種要求「正向的媒體再現」是道德訓化的悲傷但可理解的後果,但不為許多酷兒現實生活中複雜、模糊與另類的道德觀的保留餘地。這部電影不是一部傳統的愛情片,而更寫實地描繪了被積壓的慾望和無法言語的迷戀,以及在生澀、躁動不安的十七歲,想要尋找靠近一個人的方法,但唯一的工具卻是由一個充滿有害的男子氣概的社會所提供。

It’s a tough watch, to be sure, but it’s also one with recognizably real characters and social realities—at least, that is, to those of us in Taiwan—and one that rewards attentive viewing. If you want another fluff film about impossibly good-looking guys who fall in love and live happily ever after (which, hey, I’m all for too), this isn’t it. If, however, you want a studied look at the messiness of longing and the difficulty of human connection in a dog-eat-dog world, then A Lock with No Key is for you. Its protagonist is hardly heroic, but as we learn by the story’s end, what we were told at the beginning is true: sometimes, it’s either him or it’s you.

這的確不是輕鬆的短片,但它是一部可看見真實人物與現實社會環境的短片——至少對於我們身在台灣的人是這樣的——值得用心觀看。如果你想要又一部英俊美男相愛從此度過無比幸福快樂的生活的短片(當然,我也愛),這部短片不屬於這類。但如果探討在狗咬狗的世界中混亂的慾望和人際關係的種種難題,那麼《把風》會是你的菜。它的主角並不英勇,但當故事到達結尾時,在開頭的預言成真了:有時,不是他就是你。

━━ 

Translator: Andy Liu

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s