You Must Everywhere Wander


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

You Must Everywhere Wander
"There’s a balance of energies here that we rarely see onscreen." | Photo: Courtesy of SQIFF

Positioned against a black background, the speaker, wearing a muscle suit, cuts a striking figure. This is a queer masculine presence, but with an ambiguity about it which acts as a reminder of the traditional Chinese idea that everyone has both masculine and feminine energy. It’s not just the appearance of the body which makes an impression, but the way it moves, its sensual gestures in response to a spoken word audio track. There’s a balance of energies here that we rarely see onscreen.

“You are what you eat,” says the narrator. Reference is made to a series of spices, key ingredients in Chinese cooking, as the film expands from looking at gender to reflect on the diaspora. There’s a suggestion that both culture and personal identity influence physiology, whilst the narrator also reflects on the sensual experiences accorded by each spice. They are envisioned as landscapes, rendered in CGI. It’s here that the film really struggles, because the quality of this imagery is just not on a par with the visual imagination of the initial scenes, and the poetry isn’t strong enough to make up for it.

There are some interesting ideas here, but not enough to fill the running time, and the film fails to live up to its ambitions. Nevertheless, it’s a commendable effort to address neglected issues.

You Must Everywhere Wander screened as part of the 2021 Scottish Queer International Film Festival.

Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2021
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A queer masculine bodyscape where the spices used in Chinese cooking grow as spectacular natural landscapes.

Director: Whiskey Chow

Year: 2021

Runtime: 8 minutes

Country: UK


SQIFF 2021

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