City Without Baseball

2008 [CN]

Drama / Sport

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled33%
IMDb Rating5.410257


Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

922.7 MB
Chinese 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Pecker-27 / 10

Good Movie, Not Great

I brought this movie out of curiosity because I had done a play that was also centered around baseball ("Take me Out") and because I wanted to see Scud's first movie (I have heard his second movie, "Permanent Residence" is really good)...

I was expecting a homo-erotic, gay-themed film. It was not. This movie is more about life, than baseball... It explores sexuality but does not judge it... It is about overcoming adversity and not surrendering to life's obstacles... The structure of the movie and the plot makes this a very original movie too... I think it's worth watching.

The movie's plot feels like a series of vignettes except that they are connected to each other. The main plot has a gay undertone but I would say that after watching the movie I am not convinced that I would categorize this as a gay movie.

The "famous" full frontal scenes are beautifully shot and the first shower sequence is gorgeous. I would not call this gratuitous nudity, it is just a shower scene that feels real. The nudity is also not erotic for the most part. Actually, I felt that the scenes with partial or no nudity were much more erotic than the locker room and shower scenes.

When the main plot reaches it's climax, so those the main character's subplots. Here, there is a very tender scene featuring two of the main characters that I actually watched twice. The movie ends in what first seems as an unsatisfying ending but upon meditating about it, I feel that the movie simply asks us to fill in the blanks.

Is this a gay movie? No, but you will appreciate it's gay undertones and reflect upon one (or more??) character's sexuality. Is this a homo-erotic movie? No, but you will see brief, artistically done, nude scenes.

In the end the movie achieves what it set to do in the first place... If I was in Hong Kong, I would probably start watching more baseball games... The movie humanizes their struggles, makes them appealing, and makes the baseball players very likable characters....

The fragmentation of the plot is the weakest point of this movie. The cinematography is its greatest strength. What makes it worth watching (at least as a gay men),is the one really tender scene towards the end.

Like another reviewer said, this is a good movie not a great one. It is very different from anything you probably have seen before...

Reviewed by dbborroughs7 / 10

Real baseball players play themselves in a slice of life film thats a breath of fresh air in style

Atypical Hong Kong film about a group of die hard baseball players in Hong Kong, a city where no one really plays baseball. Based upon the players own stories, the players effectively play themselves with none of their names changed and the various stories based on their lives. Its life and love in the big city as the group train for international play.

I picked this up because I was interested in how a baseball movie might be filmed in a place "without baseball". What became clear almost from the start even though this is a "baseball" movie its not about baseball. Yes we see the guys training but until the final 20 minutes or so we see no games (and even then the games have no one in the stands-clearly these guys are playing for the love of the game). And how we see the games are not even remotely like how we see them in an American movie, its bits of the game with inter-titles about what happened. Its a bit strange, at least to my western eyes. Mostly the film is the stories of the guys, of the women they meet (are confused by),the love they find and lose.and how they give everything else for the game.

In its way its unlike almost any Chinese film I've ever seen and almost any Western film either. The first thing you'll notice is that the film loves the guys in a very erotic way. These are good looking hard bodied guys and they are in various states of undress frequently. There is full frontal male nudity which is is rare in western cinema and something I've never seen in Chinese. cinema at all. While there is no "need" for it, they could have shot it to hide things, its not whole gratuitous in that where we see it is where we'd see it, ie. in the locker room. Is the film specifically homo-erotic, I don't think so, but if you're bothered by naked men filmed as almost gods, I'd stay away.

There are quotes on screen from various sources and occasional narration, well not so much narration but observation from one or more of the characters. The use at times seems random and at other times comments on whats going on. I found the choices always intriguing if not always relevant to what was going on and was always looking forward to the next piece.

The film uses music to great advantage. Clearly the songs being played are of some importance to the story because of how the songs are used. As each song ends the person singing is identified on screen with their birthday and death identified. I wish that the lyrics had been subtitled since its clear that the music is importance. It should be pointed out that even though I can't understand the music, the melody does create a mood.

The performances by a cast of non actors are surprisingly good. Actually there isn't a bad one in the bunch, and if there is any flaw its more in how the characters are drawn rather then how they are performed.

I'm kind of at a loss about what to say about the film or how to describe it. I do like the film. Its a good little film, but much of my admiration for the film comes from it being so completely different then anything that I've run across in a good long while. Here is a film that was made by some filmmakers who wanted to make a movie and make it their way and they have done so with style and originality. Yes, of course the stories of the guys on the team are similar to things you've seen before but at the same time how it all come together isn't, it doesn't do what you expect and thats both refreshing and infuriating. I'm sorry I'm being obtuse about the film but this is a film that really needs to be seen. If you see it I have a feeling you'll know why I'm not being more specific-its a film that should be discovered on its own and not explained (actually the trailer that was included on the DVD made the film seem completely different then what it was. Watching it after the film I was like, that wasn't what I just saw).

Is this a great film? No. But it is a unique one, one that really should be seen by people who love movies with different points of view. Honestly I don't know why this isn't on the festival circuit since this is the sort of "independent film" that everyone clamors for. Its not a story we've seen before, or if it is its different enough in the telling that it makes it worth sitting down again. If nothing else pieces of the film still haunt me, the images of the empty fields, the player standing in the middle of the crowded street, some of the heart break, the nonchalance about"why are you late", because one player threw his phone away.

Is it a great film? No, but it is a good one. Its film that boldly has its own point of view and as messy as it is at times still demands to be seen by anyone who wants to see something that is the cinematic equivalent of the FarSide cartoon where one indistinguishable penguin from all the rest steps up and "sings "I gotta be me".

If you love films that are not completely run of the mill see this movie.

7.5 out of 10

Reviewed by wjwong516 / 10

Subliminal gay undertones throughout

An interesting film, not to difficult to watch, yet intriguing through to the last 15 minutes. It is not a 'sports' film. It is about sports as much as "Top Gun" is about flying airplanes. Littered with strong 'gay' undertones, given the characters performances and the story line. i was wondering what the film was really about. Who is or not gay, Bi or straight. i did realize that at the end, this film, everybody could have been shot'waist up' in this film and it wouldn't have made any difference. If you are squeamish about nudity then this film is not for you. As open as this film is about relationships, love and death(?),you'll need to be patient, as the film helps you through with "clues". Don't judge, watch and enjoy. Given the subject and where it was made, it seems Hong Kong/China cinema will open itself to a whole new audience very soon.

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