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East Palace, West Palace

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Director  Zhang Yuan
Initial DVD release  May 12, 2006 (France)
Language  Mandarin
6.5/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama
Screenplay  Zhang Yuan, Wang Xiaobo
Country  China
East Palace, West Palace movie poster
Release date  November 1996 (1996-11) (Mar del Plata)
Writer  Wang Xiaobo, Yuan Zhang
Cast  Si Han (A Lan), Hu Jun (Xiao Shi), Zhao Wei
Similar movies  Related Zhang Yuan movies

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East Palace, West Palace (Dong gong xi gong) is a 1996 Chinese film directed by Zhang Yuan starring Hu Jun and Si Han and based on a short story by the cult writer Wang Xiaobo. It is also known as Behind the Forbidden City or Behind the Palace Gates.


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East Palace, West Palace is the first Mainland Chinese movie with an explicitly homosexual theme. The title of the movie derives from the two parks near the Forbidden City — the East Palace and the West Palace. The two parks, specifically their public washrooms, are notorious for being places of congregation for the homosexuals in Beijing during the night.

The film was shot in the spring of 1996, when it was smuggled out of China for post-production in France. It premiered at the Mar del Plata Film Festival in Argentina in November 1996 and at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival as part of the Un Certain Regard competition.

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East Palace, West Palace East Palace West Palace Part 2 Video Dailymotion
  • Si Han as A-Lan, the young gay man picked up by the police one night in Beijing.
  • Hu Jun as Xiao Shi, the conflicted police officer who conducts A-Lan's interrogation.

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