No-budget curiosity is of interest mainly because few Westerners (or Asians) have seen the Chinese handle a same-sex love story with young women. “Fish and Elephant” is thus assured the most exotic slot at gay and lesbian fests.
Femme helmers are rare in the PRC, and this one, Li Yu, went far outside the system to use an untrained cast for sly tale of Xiao Qun, who handles elephants at the Beijing Zoo and thinks of her sexuality as no big deal. Then her divorced mother shows up, ready to marry her off to the first available man. Mom doesn’t notice that Qun already has a thing going with roommate Ling, a clothing designer recently shorn of her screwed-up b.f. Pic’s most humorous moments come from the daughter’s blind dates. They’re all decent guys, though, and one even proves nice enough for mom. Low points involve Qun’s former g.f., on the lam since killing her abusive father. Pic is far too low key to sustain such a melodramatic swerve, especially with non-thesps. Sexual identity is handled casually, but sex itself is as demure as on an Afterschool Special.