Photo Credit: MEI REN YU (MERMAID) © 2016 Richname Limited (BVI). All Rights Reserved
The Mermaid | 美人魚
- Stephen Chow, China, 2016, DCP, 94m
- Mandarin with English subtitles
- Starring: Jelly Lin, Deng Chao, Kitty Zhang, Show Luo
- Q&A with Jelly Lin
- Lin will be presented with a Screen International Rising Star Asia Award
Stephen Chow is the King of Comedy! And his crown is confirmed with this slapstick deconstruction of The Little Mermaid featuring auto-cannibalism, mermaids launched from giant slingshots, assassination by sea urchin, China’s worst museum, jetpacks, and a rousing sing-off. It’s also the most subversive comedy to slip past Chinese censors, and, to top it all off, it’s the highest-grossing Chinese movie of all time. Liu (Deng Chao) is a rapacious businessman using sonar to kill off all the dolphins so he can reclaim the Green Gulf coastal zone and develop it into luxury condominiums. Unfortunately, the sonar is also killing the mermaids who secretly live there, and one of them, Shanshan (Jelly Lin), is selected to dress up like a hoochie mama, infiltrate Liu’s luxury lifestyle, and assassinate him. With her character’s tail shoved into shoes, Jelly Lin hops through her scenes like a constipated penguin, constantly upping her physical comedy game as the emotional stakes get higher and higher when she falls for Liu, dooming her people to their deaths. This delirious, sprawling comedy includes some of the funniest set pieces ever put on film—and you have to admit that the story of an endangered community of half-fish, half-humans living off the southern Coast of China, who face extinction at the hands of well-armed capitalists who want to steal their land might just be a sly statement about Chow’s hometown of Hong Kong.