The Hong Kong independent film industry takes another hit with Naked Human Nature, an omnibus of short films exploring tortured emotions. Produced by filmmaker Nip Ling, this collection of art films (they must be art, because they have zero entertainment value) certainly means well, but its actual success is up for debate. Anastasia Tsang and Ches Yim directed the lead-off short, “Marriage Sans Frontières”, about a cross-dresser named Terrence (Kitty Lai) who suffers prejudice and self-hatred when he attempts to come to terms with his lifestyle choice. There’s a good idea in this first short, and its social conscience — the film criticizes the lack of recognition for same-sex marriages in Hong Kong — is commendable. However, the pretentious script and sub-par acting from lead Kitty Lai hurt the film’s admirable intentions.
Things go downhill from there. Lee Siu-Lung wrote and directed the second film, “Sin World”, dramatizing a real-life crime where a young man murdered his mother and sister. Shing (Vincent Luk) is a sweaty introvert who frequently has visions of S&M parties and moving manga panels running through his head. Then the pot boils over (Literally!) and he proceeds to murder his mother (Yaya Tse) and sister (Katie Kwok) in bloody, over-stylized detail. “Sin World” offers some exploration of Shing’s motives, but the revelations are prosaic and terribly one-note. Lee Siu-Lung seems more interested in bludgeoning the audience with extreme style and blood effects than digging that deeply into the ripped-from-the-headlines situation. Vincent Luk’s creepy performance, which is more of a caricature than a convincing portrait of a disturbed individual, doesn’t help matters.
Producer Nip Ling directs the final segment, “Cry 2”, a wordless tale about a woman (Wong Lo-Yiu) who’s stalked by a baseball cap-wearing scumbag (Lawrence Lai) before he kidnaps and rapes her. “Cry 2” should be commended for its attempt at placing an audience within the emotions of a rape victim, especially as she copes with the post-traumatic stress, and Wong Lo-Yiu gives a brave and revealing performance. However, some details are pandering (the rapist is depicted as a freak who licks the television while watching video of animal predators), and the whole thing is so pessimistic and uncomfortable to watch that it’s difficult to recommend. There’s decent meaning here but is it worth the 30 minutes of discomfort and gratuitous style required to reach it? I’m going to say “no.” Multiply that statement by three and you’ve got Naked Human Nature.
|Pemain:||Chan Lap-Man, Derek Wong, Grace Kam, Katie Kwok, Kitty Lai, Lawrence Lai, Masako Lai Yee-Lok, Ringo Kwong Chi-Ming, Sheena Cheung, Vincent Lo Chi-Hang, Vincent Luk Chun-Yin, Wong Lo-Yiu, Yaya Tse|
|Direksi:||Anastasia Tsang, Ches Yim, Lee Siu-Lung, Nip Ling|