“City Without Baseball” (“Mou ye chi sing”)
Set in 2004, Scud uses actual members of the Hong Kong Baseball Team for this fictional film. The city where the movie takes place has no baseball so the players that live there are a true minority. Because of this they learn to think freely about friendship, love and sexuality. They become quite strong as they go about their lives. The film is based upon the real lives of the actors and so the actors actually play themselves. As they train for an international tournament, we are let into their lives.
It is interesting that this is a baseball movie that is not about baseball. We see scenes of practices but we do not see any games until the end of the film and even then, the stands are empty and the guys seem to be playing just for themselves and because they love the game. The film is quite basically the stories of the players and of the women they meet, the love they have for baseball and the love they find. There is a good deal of nudity and many gay undertones in the film.
For a group of unprofessional actors, the performances are quite good. I am really not sure how to review this movie as it is unlike anything I have ever seen and this makes it special. This is the first movie that Scud made and it is interesting to compare it to his later accomplishments. He is not afraid to try anything and his abundant use of frontal male nudity in all four of his films proves that.
This is a movie about life and overcoming the problems that we face as we meander through it. Presented in a series of vignettes that are connected, we see different periods of time in the lives of others and quite naturally it is easy to compare what we are going through to the film. This is not a gay movie, per se, but the homoerotic undertones are plentiful. Sexuality is explored but there are no moral judgments and what we really see is how to overcome the adversities of life.
The fragmented plot might be considered a flaw and what the movie actually is seems to be a dramatized documentary of unconnected events with no build up and no conclusions. We do not move toward a climax as there is none but what we see are great production values. The film begins as a narrative about baseball but what it is really about is for the viewer to decide.