The Third Solar Term is a Chinese short movie about a gay man who hides his sexuality from his mother.

The Third Solar Term is a Chinese short movie about a gay youth and his secret double life. The main character is on his best behaviour around his mother, who dotes on her precious son. Behind her back, he meets a guy online and has casual hookups with him. The protagonist enjoys spending time with his rebellious love interest. However, he is afraid to tell his mom about this relationship.

Made in China and the United Kingdom, The Third Solar Term approaches the coming-of-age story from a unique angle. It focuses on a gay child's bond with his parent and draws parallels to insects. The themes and metaphors are intelligent. I also enjoy the sensitive performances from the cast. However, there isn't much emphasis on romance. The lacklustre relationship scenes hardly stimulate me, reducing the emotional impact of the film.

The Third Solar Term Summary



Movie Info:

China (2021)


20 minutes




The Third Solar Term is a sad & emotional short film.

Is The Third Solar Term BL?

Yes, there is a gay couple.


Qizhe and Red Hair are dating.

Qizhe is a student who visits his mother in China during the school break. He stays with her for a couple of days. Qizhe has a close relationship with his mother, who dotes on her precious son. He is on his best behaviour around her. When they reunite, Qizhe's mother can smell cigarette smoke on his body. Qizhe denies her allegations and insists that he hasn't been smoking.

Qizhe hasn't told his mom about his attraction to guys. Behind her back, he hooks up with other men on the internet. Recently, he meets a red-haired guy and has a casual fling with him. They hook up in a campus bathroom stall. The red-haired guy is a smoker and encourages him to try. Qizhe wants to impress him and takes a puff.

Qizhe has a pet mantis, which he leaves in his mom's care. Upon his arrival, he brings home a second, younger mantis. Once the creature ages, he plans to put two mantises together in the same tank to mate. The red-haired guy seems interested in Qizhe's pets. Qizhe brings him home for a tour on a day when his mom goes out. However, things go differently than planned.

The Third Solar Term Trailer

The Third Solar Term Cast


Qizhe is portrayed by Fengyi Xing (幸封燚).


Fengyi Xing (幸封燚)

Qizhe's mom is portrayed by Zhu Zhu (朱珠).

Qizhe's mom

Zhu Zhu (朱珠)

Red Hair is portrayed by Le Duo (多樂).

Red Hair

Le Duo (多樂)

The Third Solar Term Review


Movie Review Score: 6.9

Qizhe raises a mantis as a pet.

The Third Solar Term is an intelligent short movie that approaches a gay coming-of-age story from an unusual angle. It uses the behaviour of insects as a metaphor to represent the protagonist's complex relationship with his mother. The clever symbolism invites viewers to examine the plot more deeply to appreciate its nuances. I can tell the filmmaker has thought about the meaning behind each scene, crafting an intricate narrative with substance. The Third Solar Term is a work of careful consideration.

The film begins by introducing the duality in the main character's identity. The opening scene shows Qizhe in a risqué online chat with a half-naked man. Yet, he transforms his demeanour in the following exchange. The backpack, glasses, and buttoned-up shirt portray him as mommy's good little boy. The contrast between these two personas sets the central conflict of the movie. Qizhe leads a double life, concealing his sexuality at home. His secrecy reflects a common LGBTQ+ struggle. By tapping into a relatable experience, The Third Solar Term quickly establishes an intriguing plot.

The movie uses Qizhe's pet mantises as an analogy. Once the young insect grows up, it will move into the bigger tank to mate with the adult. As part of their metamorphosis, mantises shed their skin to develop a new outer layer. In one scene, Qizhe's mom puts exfoliation cream on her son's skin, alluding to the moulting process. Like the mantis, Qizhe is at a delicate life stage as he transitions from adolescence to adulthood. He worries about coming out to his mom. Revealing his sexuality indicates maturity, like a signal that he's ready to leave his nest to fornicate with others.

Unlike many coming-out stories, The Third Solar Term doesn't focus on seeking the parent's approval. Instead, the story is more about Qizhe's independence. Is Qizhe mentally strong enough to disregard his mother's response and admit there's a guy he fancies? The protagonist's self-acceptance is the real journey in The Third Solar Term. Thankfully, the cast's refined performances add gravitas to the riveting narrative. The actress playing Qizhe's mom (Zhu Zhu) is graceful while managing her emotions. She displays a hint of vulnerability beneath her composure.

The Third Solar Term is the most compelling whenever it explores Qizhe's bond with his mother. I'm fond of sensitive stories about LGBTQ+ children and their parents, so this movie's premise appeals to me. However, I'm not interested in the relationship between Qizhe and his love interest, which never expands beyond a hookup. Sadly, this film lacks emphasis on romance. The flirting and intimacy scenes fail to stimulate me. Since I don't care about the couple, the film struggles to capture my emotional investment. Instead of evoking warmth or passion, I feel cold and detached.

The Third Solar Term has a sad ending where Qizhe retreats to his cowardice instead of showing empowerment. The dead infant mantis symbolizes Qizhe's weakness. While I comprehend the movie's messages, the conclusion leaves me dissatisfied. Is that it? Is there more? I want a decisive resolution for our protagonist. Looking back on the movie, I respect its meaningful themes and astute metaphors. Yet, I don't have an attachment to the characters or the romance. Despite its intellectual merits, The Third Solar Term doesn't produce a sentimental response from me.


Intelligent story

The Third Solar System explores the delicate relationship between a gay protagonist and his mother. This sophisticated coming-of-age story contains meaningful themes and clever metaphors.

Sterile romance

There isn't much emphasis on romance, which never expands beyond a casual hookup. The flirting and intimacy scenes fail to stimulate me. I don't care about this couple at all.

Delicate acting

The actress portraying Qizhe's mom (Zhu Zhu) manages her emotions gracefully, balancing vulnerability and composure. Also, the handsome lead (Fengyi Xing) looks highly telegenic.

Sad ending

The Third Solar Term has a sad ending where Qizhe gives in to his cowardice instead of showing pride and empowerment. I feel dissatisfied and want a more decisive resolution.

Clever artistry

The movie uses clever symbolism and visual cues to convey its sophisticated themes. I can tell the filmmaker has carefully considered the meaning behind each scene.


The Third Solar Term is an intelligent short movie examining a gay protagonist's coming-of-age journey. Despite the clever metaphors & sophisticated themes, the lacklustre romance doesn't stimulate me.

The Third Solar Term Information

Qizhe's mom helps him exfoliate.

The Third Solar Term is a Chinese movie that released on October 8, 2021. It is made in China and the United Kingdom as a student film. This is a short movie, which you can finish in around 20 minutes. J.C. Zhang is the movie director.


J.C. Zhang (宋展飛) is a Chinese director. He worked on the 2021 short movie, The Third Solar Term. It was made in China and the United Kingdom.

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