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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 24.18%
Average: 14.29%
Pretty Bad: 17.58%
Total Crap: 9.89%

1 review, 85 user ratings

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Feeding Boys, Ayaya
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Chris Parry

1 stars

What did I think of Feeding Boys, Ayaya? Allow me to repeat, verbatim, the notes I wrote in the dark while watching this film. "Annoying score. Awful. Slow. Gratuitous (no female) butt shots. Shaky camera. Bad light. First walk-outs, two minutes in. Looks cheap. Justifies prostitution. More walk-outs. Bad sound. Dear God, make it end. Anal Sex. One-minute shot of a man boiling water. No lighting. Half way through, half the audience has left. Terrible score. Looked at my watch eight times. I can hear the man three rows back, chewing. Movie ending soon, only eight people left in audience. I'm dying. Help me. Someone, make it stop."

I wrote all of that without actually looking at the page, and trust me, I NEVER write notes during a screening. As best as I can figure, I was so mind-numbingly bored that any distraction was a welcome one. If i'd have had a bottle handy, I may have rolled up those notes and inserted them into the bottle, then flung the thing out into the foyer, in a perhaps futile plea for help.

See, I'm in the press, so I can't leave a film like this early - at least not if I want to review it. I know other press people left early and I'm certain some will review the film regardless, but I figure if I'm going to pound a flick into the ground, I at least need to be sure I'm not missing something in he last five minutes that gives the film some surprise meaning.

Alas, no, Feeding Boys, Ayaya has no surprise meaning I could figure. In fact, it had nothing I could even applaud. Not a darn thing was worthy of note in this film (and I use that phrase loosely). It seemed to be a poorly written series of scenes involving male prostitutes, dopey Christians, and people who die whenever they get a bad mood on.

The synopsis says, "What makes a boy want to sell his body? In the latest item in his rapidly escalating filmography, Cui Zi'en turns away from relatively high-flown queer theory towards the street-level rent-boys. One of the reasons his main character, a nice boy from a happy middle-class home, wants to start renting himself is that he has this idea that men, like women, have a duty to fulfil their destiny as mammals by 'feeding' others. At least, that's what he says."

Now, even if you could make sense out of that synopsis, I'll bet you an eyeball that you won't make sense of this movie. Perhaps if the camera didn't have the cast out of frame half the time it would be easier to follow. Perhaps if the sound wasn't atrocious and the score wasn't filling your ears with electronic moaning it might be a little more understandable. And maybe if, oh, I dunno, someone switch on a light, we might be able to watch what these people are trying to achieve.

I dunno. All I managed to see clearly was some man on man sex, a lot of 'up-butt' shots (and hairy ones at that), and a whole lot of footage where each scene seemed to be trying to 'out pointless' the last.

Were the performances any good? Buggered if I can say, since I was sticking myself in the leg with my pen just to stay awake. I can say that the translated subtitles read like a very very bad screenplay, so either the script was doody, or the translation service isn't exactly going for 'poetic'.

I could feel the life force draining out of me when I watched this movie. At every festival I've ever been to, one film will always manage to tell you within the first few frames that your next ninety minutes is going to be excruciating. Generally these films have some relation to the phrase "Richard Linklater retrospective," but I have no doubt in my mind that Feeding Boys, Ayaya is this festival's great sucking hole of death.

Cui Zi'en may well be prolific. But so was my weird uncle Bill until we took away his Sony Handycam. Now, if someone would just do the same with Mr Zi'en...

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 09/12/03 15:32:52
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.

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  N/A (NR)
  DVD: 12-Jul-2005



Directed by
  Cui Zi'en

Written by
  Cui Zi'en

  Jia Ge
  Hou Jian
  Yu Bin
  Wen Wen
  Zhang Shiqin
  Zhang Jian
  Sun Bin

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