Dir. Zero Chou (周美玲) | 2007 | Taiwan
This film tells the story of two former childhood friends, Jade (or Little Green), played by Rainie Yang (刺青), and Takeko, played by Isabella Leong (梁洛施), who, after a decade estranged from one another, meet by chance at Takeko’s tattoo parlor, where Jade becomes fascinated by her spider lily tattoo, which Takeko warns her off, explaining it is a bad omen. Takeko, despite having had a crush on Jade since she was a child, does not immediately recognise her, and it is Jade’s goal to reignite their childhood romance. Jade, now working as a cam-girl, performing online stripteases with the hope of reuniting with her childhood love again, is monitored and eventually idolised and stalked, to an extent, by a young male police officer, who tries to convince Jade, whom he believes to be too good and innocent for this work, to end her webcamming before it’s too late. Takeko, meanwhile, is racked with guilt about her first love, as it was while she went to meet with Jade as a child that an earthquake struck, killing her father and leaving her brother suffering from a dissociative disorder.
This was Zero Chou’s second film centred on LGBTQ relationships, her first being Splendid Float (艷光四射歌舞團), which concerned the Taiwanese drag scene. Spider Lilies addresses heteronormativity, the performative nature of gender and sexuality, and the pressures of filial piety in the LGBTQ community in China, expressed especially in Takeko’s character, whose neurosis around her relationship with Jade derives largely from guilt and obligation towards her family and her late father.