The threats of HIV and AIDS have never really been at the forefront of most people in Hong Kong as those living with HIV only make up about 0.1 percent of the population, says timeout.com.hk.
But this complacent attitude could change soon following news stories over the past few months which have told of an alarming increase in the reported cases of HIV, especially among the city’s gay community, the report said.
Hence, the Department of Health’s AIDS education and resource arm, the Red Ribbon Centre, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Society and The Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, is releasing a joint film project, For Love, We Can, to raise awareness of the issue.
The movie touches upon the key points of conflict which surround many LGBT films across the world, namely the complexities and difficulties of coming out, dealing with tumultuous family relationships and the struggles of actually living with HIV.
The 48-minute short film centers around two characters: a rambunctious youth named Jun, played by Yau Hawk-sau, and a seemingly stable banker, Michael, played by Carlos Chen. The two men, though from different backgrounds, find love through their mutual feelings of isolation from their families.
But when life seems to be going well for the couple, an unwelcome ex appears and reveals the shattering news that he is infected with HIV – and that Jun is also pretty likely to test positive as well. Drama and tears ensue before the journey of acceptance begins.
This is the first LGBT genre film for director Lam Chi-lung, who is a Masters student at The School of Television and Film at the HKAPA. Lam, who is straight, says he spent a considerable amount of time researching the topic.
“I met with six HIV-positive people,” he says, about the heavy portions of the film which focus on dealing with HIV and AIDS. “I visited the HIV Diagnostic Centre to try and understand what people go through in their minds, both on psychological and emotional levels.”
Lam continues: “I interviewed another 15 to 20 people of varying ages in the LGBT community and discovered dramatic stories of attempted suicide, stigma and getting disowned by one’s family. Being in the LGBT community is actually a really separate existence from the mainstream. Usually we just label them as ‘gay’, which is way too superficial and narrow. We don’t have the right to judge unless we can walk a day in their shoes.”
Yau Hawk-sau, who is also not gay, agrees with Lam’s sentiments. But he also points out: “Although, overtly, people these days seem like they are in support of LGBT rights, privately they still crack jokes and make homophobic statements.”
You may watch the official trailer of the film “For Love, We Can” here: