The perfect boyfriend? In Shanghai they are simply for rent. The simulated emotions do lead to confusion in both camps in this postmodern portrait of the Asian metropolis.
In dynamic Shanghai, Leonardo and his shining example Sly earn a living as ‘host boys’, a kind of emo-gigolos whose wage depends on the patrons’ champagne consumption. In the club, they play on women’s feelings by assuming custom-made personalities: from brat to rogue or romantic soul. One strict rule prescribes that the amorous transactions are limited to the club’s interior. Still, Leonardo takes one of his regular clients — a host girl herself — home. Is, apart from love, intimacy or even a family tie for sale? And what exactly is the difference between a real and a simulated relationship? Director David Verbeek shot his film in the ten days he was waiting for funding for his film R U There, which was later selected for Cannes; however, the completion took another two and a half years. Club Zeus, too, is imbued with a postmodern spirit and, although style-wise indebted to the Asian masters Verbeek admires, shot in a much more casual style.
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