Snake Boy (Shanghai)
Director: Michelle Chen
Coco Zhao, 24, jazz singer, has come out to the world. His world is Shanghai, former city of sin, these days a more conservative home for gays. But he has yet to tell his mother, a traditional Chinese opera teacher in the distant province of Hunan.
Coco was born in 1977 in Hunan Province. His parents were both local opera teachers and Coco was brought up to respect the opera traditions of the area. At the age of 10, Coco went to study folk songs at the Middle School of Wu Hai Music Conservatory. While he was there, he had his first homosexual experience with a man much older than him. In 1993, Coco came to Shanghai to study music composition at the Shanghai Music Conservatory. To make ends meet, Coco took a job as a singer in local nightclubs. He got chances to meet with several openly foreign homosexuals and he absorbed from them a lot of ideas of how to singing and to live. Coco’s life has been full of ups and downs, including a friendship with Kika, and underground novelist, a love affair with Jelmer, a Dutch dancer, and a failed suicide attempt. In the years since, he has gone from strength to strength. He is now a successful jazz singer with a lot of fans. He sings in many bars and nightclubs across town. He is about to record an album. And he’s not afraid of his sexuality anymore. There’s just one more hurdle. He has to tell his mother.