A Chinese man searches for traces of his dead Swiss lover in “Soundless Wind Chime,” an intensely personal story with autobiographical overtones that proves too ambitious for freshman helmer Kit Hung. Juggling locations and time periods are not for the novice, and Hung’s choices feel too random and uncertain, so tripped up by the metaphysical that narrative and emotional involvement get dropped along the wayside. Pic is destined to be another orphan in the gay fest ghetto.

Newly arrived in Hong Kong from Beijing and living with his prostitute aunt (Wella Zhang), Ricky (Lu Yulai, “The Red Awn”) falls hard for Pascal (Bernhard Bulling), a Swiss juggler in an abusive relationship with a con artist. The love seems to go out of Pascal even before it’s lit, but his accidental death sends grieving Ricky on a quest for closure that takes him to Switzerland, where he meets Pascal’s doppelganger, Ueli (also Bulling). Hung succeeds in evoking different tones from his three locations, but jumps in time stymie any cathartic jolt. An amusing musical interlude, resembling a Chinese Chita Rivera number, spikes interest, but nothing else matches this deliciously unexpected highlight.

Soundless Wind Chime

Hong Kong-Switzerland

  • Production: A Keep in Touch Co. (Hong Kong)/Das Kollektiv Fuer Audiovisuelle Werke, 10mm (Switzerland) production, in association with Movie Mind Intl. (International sales: Wide Management, Paris.) Produced by Jacqueline Liu, Kit Hung, Min Li Marti, Liliane Ott, Philip Delaquis, Stefan Zuber. Co-producer, Sze Kit Ling. Directed, written, edited by Kit Hung.
  • Crew: Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Alex Shi Yue; music, Claudio Puntin, Insa Rudolph, Chet Lam; production designers, Nam Lau, Gill Wong; costume designers, Ida Trieu, Greta Grashorn. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 10, 2009. Original title: Wu sheng feng ling. Swiss, German, English, Mandarin, Cantonese dialogue. Running time: 100 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Lu Yulai, Bernhard Bulling, Wong Siu Ying, Li Fong, Wella Zhang, Hannes Lindenblatt, Gilles Tschudi, Ruth Schwegler, Marie Omlin, Wong Yaxuan, Jackie Leung.