Sunday 12 August 2012

Being Vulgar in Hong Kong

Vulgaria ... sounds like a typical garden-variety Hongkie movie ... all weird, childish, silly, immature jokes with a nonsensical plot.

I've taken note of this movie only because of the novel names ... naturally.

Hiro Hayama, Susan Shaw Yin-yin, Dada Chen and Matt Chow Hoi-kwong


Vulgaria (SCMP; paywall)
Lau Kit-wai
Aug 09, 2012    

Starring: Chapman To Man-chat, Ronald Cheng Chung-kei, Dada Chen
Director: Edmond Pang Ho-cheung
Category: III (Cantonese and Putonghua)

With Vulgaria, director Edmond Pang Ho-cheung further builds on his reputation as the raunchiest filmmaker of post-handover Hong Kong cinema.

The film stars Chapman To Man-chat as divorced B-movie producer To Wai-cheung, who will do anything to secure funding for his films while fighting with his ex-wife (Kristal Tin Yui-nei, the actor's real-life spouse) for access to his young daughter.

The story, written by Pang, veteran screenwriter Lam Chiu-wing and writer Luk Yee-sum, begins with To at a filmmaking class where he compares the role of film producer to that of pubic hair. The joke sets the tone of the movie, which only heads lower as To recounts his sacrifices while remaking the sexploitation classic Confession of a Concubine.

To's misadventures begin with his meeting a triad boss, played by Ronald Cheng Chung-kei, who has an attraction to animals. The boss agrees to fund To's project on the condition that veteran actress Susan Shaw Yin-yin - star of the original Confession over 30 years ago - appear in steamy sex scenes. The producer decides that by hiring upcoming starlet Popping Candy (Dada Chen) and using computer generated imagery, they will have a body double for Shaw.

Even before it hit the screens, the buzz on Vulgaria was that it might leave a bad taste - a clever ploy for getting people into cinemas. Audiences who enjoy below-the-waist jokes find countless gags about bestiality, oral sex, anal sex and masturbation.

The obscenity is mostly verbal, yet is no less shocking than hard-core pornography. While sensible viewers may dismiss the movie as crude, its obscenity goes deeper. Pang has devised a world where only fellatio seems to matter, and he expects us to see this as funny and hip.

To is mediocre here and Chen is nothing more than a sex object. The cameos by Shaw (pictured, second left with Hiro Hayama, Chen and Matt Chow Hoi-kwong), singer-actor Fiona Sit Hoi-kei and Simon Lui Yu-yeung fail to bring anything to the paper-thin plot.

Given the favourable response from audiences at the premiere, comedy has clearly moved on since Michael Hui Koon-man retired and Stephen Chow Sing-chi crossed the border for greener pastures. Vulgarity is now the chosen flavour of moviegoers.

No comments:

Post a Comment