- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 33 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: November 29, 2005
- Originally Released: 2005
- Label: Strand Home Video
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 1.85
- (unspecified) - Cantonese Mandarin
- Subtitles - English - optional
- Interactive Features:
- Interactive Menus: Full-Motion Menus
Performers, Cast and Crew:
New York Times - 08/23/2005
"FORMULA swoons with youthful innocence."
Directed by 23-year-old Yin-jung Chen (AKA DJ Chen), FORMULA 17 puts a lighthearted, humorous spin on gay life in Taiwan, painting an idealized portrait that contains no mention of the difficulties associated with the gay community. Ponderous topics like AIDS, societal pressures, or coming-out issues are absent, and there are no women or straight people--only beautiful young men with hearts more or less made of gold. This candy-coated depiction comes off as a refreshing celebration of the simple joy of being young, gay, and in love.
Tien is a 17-year-old country boy who has just arrived in Taipei to meet an internet friend he has been corresponding with. It soon becomes clear, however, that the prospective man of Tien's dreams--whose online handle is "Beast Man"--is only out for one thing, so Tien flees to a nightclub where his childhood friend, the flamboyant Yu, slings drinks with enthusiasm. Yu takes his naïve friend under his wing, scoffing at Tien's dogged insistence on waiting for love before he loses his virginity, and attempting to educate him in the ways of urban existence. Tien persists in his virtue, resisting the advances of a hunky plumber hired by Yu and his crew of queens for the purposes of deflowering the boy. Meanwhile, it seems Tien has caught the eye of the local playboy, Bai, whose reputation for loving and leaving is well-established. Tien is likewise drawn to Bai but is justly wary of his past, and the two enact a halting courtship fraught with misunderstanding that stems from Bai's fear of intimacy. The entirety of the film takes on the structure of a Greek comedy, complete with a chorus--Yu and his friends, who provide humorous commentary on the action--and a deux ex machina that pretty much saves the day. There is never any real doubt as to how this love story will end, but the pleasure of the story lies in the telling.
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