‘Twilight’s Kiss’ Review: A Hidden Romance, Late in Life


Pak, a 70-year-old Hong Kong taxi driver, fits cruising into his daily routine, away from the eyes of his suspicious wife. Then at a park he meets Hoi, a twinkly-eyed retiree with a dapper mustache, and the two nurture a deeper, tender connection that’s at the heart of “Twilight’s Kiss,” a look at love that comes late and is burdened by a lifetime of hidebound norms.

Pak (Tai Bo) and Hoi (Ben Yuen) keep their rendezvous a secret while affectionately fulfilling their duties as fathers and grandfathers. (The film’s original title, “Suk Suk,” is a Cantonese term for older men, or “uncles.”) Instead of pushing for a grand tragic romance, the writer-director, Ray Yeung, lingers on moments of domestic warmth in the men’s lives: whether shopping at the market for a meal at Hoi’s apartment, or separately catching up with their extended families over supper.

Pak pulls back from a close relationship because he worries about disturbing the hard-won stability of his family. More open, though also secretive with his family, Hoi finds community at a club for older gay men that’s a place for political advocacy. (The movie was inspired by an oral history about past generations of gay men in Hong Kong.)

Handsomely shot but humble in approach, the film can often feel purposeful, laying down groundwork that other stories of queer experience might take for granted. But Tai Bo’s pragmatic momentum as Pak has a way of restoring a succinctness to the movie, which avoids minimizing or exploiting the pains of concealment.

Twilight’s Kiss
Not rated. In Cantonese, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 32 minutes. Watch on Film Forum’s Virtual Cinema.


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