a short film by Boo Junfeng
2008 | 19 mins | Singapore
›› Tanjong Rhu - The Casuarina Cove
cruising, men and police entrapment.
Tanjong Rhu by Boo Junfeng Kelvin likes men. Only when his monogamous relationship with his University boyfriend David ends up hitting the rocks, he finds himself lusting after male company in Singapore’s then infamous Tanjong Rhu cruising ground. It is a night in which he is set to discover, that he is not alone.

Beautifully shot and scored, this poignant piece from writer and director Boo Junfeng cross-cuts between past and present time frames to chart and with a spoiler warning firmly in place, the then act of police entrapment. For in September 1993, twelve men were to find that the man making eyes at them within the secluded casuarina trees of Tanjong Rhu, was of the official kind that George Michael discovered in a Los Angeles restroom in 1998. Only whereas Michael faced a fine and community service thereafter, here such acts equated to the charge of "outrage of modesty," a section of the Penal Code deliberately used to legitimatize caning, namely three bloody Rotan strokes that result in permanent scarring.

Not that the severity of the sentence, one with due imprisonment is apparent until the end credits roll. For here, Junfeng delights in laying the factual foundation stones of his work, interview fashion, that of a series of questions posed to Kelvin by way of the sister of a man who he had encountered that night. Intercut with a series of tender moments, including a touching one of gay lovers "publicly holding hands, without holding hands," this bittersweet work details in fiction the last "reported cases" of police entrapment, thanks to an appeal by one Tan Boon Hock that in April 1994 saw a Chief Justice openly question as to "how could the constable have been outraged, when he was expecting to be touched in the first place?"

A history lesson, Singapore style on a sexual witch-hunt that for all of its poignancy, somewhat misses the dramatic resolution of the court appeal that thereafter made cases of entrapment, consigned to the past.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - strictly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue - 'Boys on Film 6: Pacific Rim' release 28.03.2011
starring: Nick Shen Weijun / Kelvin, Scott Lei / Jason, Pierre Goh / David,
Yeo Yann Yann / Janice, Tan Bee Guan / Grandmother
and Kelvin Ong as the Police Officer.
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #373
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