"Very pretty people seen against beautiful landscapes provide most of the enjoyment in Chinese director Yonfan's glossy melodrama set in Taiwan in the 1950s when the hunt for communists on the island led to the period known as the 'white terror,'" writes Ray Bennett in the Hollywood Reporter. "More a tale of personal betrayal than a depiction of a nation going through turmoil, the film might travel reasonably well in Asia but success elsewhere will have to rely on audiences' appetite for its romantic flourishes and fairy-tale wrapping."
Screen's generally positive review of Prince of Tears has no byline as of this writing but does remind us that the "'white terror' took place when Chiang Kai-shek, retreating from China for what he believed would be a short time, imposed martial law in Taiwan, hunting down communists with a passion and executing thousands of men suspected of being 'reds' with tens of thousands more sent to prison." And following a plot summary: "Whether all this makes real sense or not is up to the audience's tolerance, but Yonfan's message is clear throughout: the main thing in such difficult times is to survive the best one can."
Is "commie" part of the infamous Variety lexicon or is Derek Elley just getting into the Cold War spirit of the film's period? And are "gay males" not "regular patrons"?
At any rate, AP's Colleen Barry has quotes from the press conference and a bit more background.
We'll learn more about this Competition entry, I suppose, when it screens in Toronto on September 16, 17 and 18.