Opening Night Film
Hong Kong, 2012
North American Premiere
90 minutes, in Cantonese and Profanity with English subtitles
Directed by: Pang Ho-cheung
Starring: Chapman To, Kristal Tin, Simon Lui, Ronald Cheng, Susan Shaw Yin-yin
Special guest, director Pang Ho-cheung, will attend the screening!
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Friday, June 29 @ 8:30pm (buy tickets)
Described as “astonishingly filthy,” “outrageous,” and “displaying a reckless abandon in mentioning genitals” Pang Ho-cheung’s show business satire pushes good taste as far as it can go, and then it keeps on going. What’s most astonishing about this lewd, crude, and hilariously dirty film is that it achieves all its shocking effects with nothing more than dialogue. They say there’s no business like show business, but Pang shocks us not by showing, but by telling. Shot in just 12 days, on a microscopic budget, the actors, director, and screenwriter wrote this porno Apocalypse Now as they went along, taking the audience with them into their heart of comedy darkness.
Chapman To plays a producer invited to a “sharing session” with a herd of lazy film students who claim that films don’t need producers. What does a producer even do? “Well,” he says, losing his patience, “a producer is like pubic hair: he reduces the friction between the financers and the director.” And then he’s off, relating the epic story of his attempt to remake the 70’s Shaw Brothers sexploitation movie I Want More! starring its original lead, Susan Shaw Yin-yin, now in her 60’s, and in desperate need of a body double (Popping Candy, played in a career-redefining performance by Dada Chan). After Chapman agrees to give up his visitation rights to his beloved daughter in order to secure a loan from his ex-wife, he approaches a freaky triad boss named Brother Tyrannosauraus, who forces him to (maybe? probably?) make love to his “mule wife” for his loan.
More than just a bunch of dirty jokes, this is the kind of fast-paced verbal comedy someone in 1930’s Hollywood might have made if they’d been allowed. It’s a movie that takes no prisoners. Chapman To’s desire to debase himself for money is a commentary on Hong Kong where people are all-too-ready to do anything for a buck and he also makes time to talk about how the recent hit film, Sex and Zen 3D,torpedoed the careers of its lead actors, while also making them very famous, and there’s even a few words about Hong Kong film producers and their co-dependent relationship with Mainland money men. Fast, furious, funny, and ultimately leaving you with a serious buzz, by the time it’s all over you’ll want to marry a sweet-eyed, tiny-hooved mule wife of your very own.