The Taste of Betel Nut

The Taste of Betel Nut

China | 2017 | 84 minutes | Jia Hu

A polyamorous male couple live a thrillingly free life among the surfers on the tropical coast of Hainan Island until they decide to test the limitations of a restrictive society, and their own sexuality, by becoming romantically entangled with a beautiful young girl.

Li Qi is happy living the simple life along the coast of Hainan Island as a dolphin show employee. His partner Ren Yu gets by with a mobile karaoke business. Tourists are enamored with Ren's striking resemblance to the famed actor-singer Leslie Cheung, which nets the pair a steady stream of free drinks. They find relatively little to complain about on their corner of the peaceful tropical island. When a young woman named Bai Ling works her way into the couple, a prosperous three-way relationship is underway. Together, they happily challenge conservative societal expectations and their own sexuality as part of a younger generation of Chinese willing to move casually between tradition and a proudly alternative way of life. But when brutal forces outside their control leave a devastating impact on the trio, life can no longer go on as they'd hoped. Little dialogue is spoken and much of the narrative is told through deft expression and gestures full of amorous intent. The quietness and visually arresting setting offer a picture of everyday life and young love in China that is rarely seen onscreen.

Director Biography
Celebrated for depicting everyday life in China that is rarely illustrated in modern cinema, director Hu Jia unveils his second feature film with The Taste of Betel Nut, only three years after his directorial premiere in 2014 with Dance with Me. He began his career in filmmaking by studying in France throughout the '90s, yet is a native of Xin Jiang in northwest China.

Sponsored by Aegis Gardens, Hainan Airlines, WASA North America Group

  • Original Language Title: Bing Lang Xue
  • Director: Jia Hu
  • Principal Cast: Bingrui Zhao, Yue Ye, Shiyu Shen
  • Premiere Status: North American
  • Country: China, Hong Kong
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 84 minutes
  • Producer: Wei Sun
  • Screenplay: Jia Hu
  • Cinematographers: Jean-Baptiste Ducros
  • Editors: Xiang Ye, Fei Tian
  • Music: Hooter Looker, Kun Lou
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Mandarin
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP