Sei Mong se Jun (2004) Ab-normal Beauty
Film Five (and the last for me) on the Tartan Asia extreme tour 2005.
Directed by Oxide Pang Chun
Starring Race Wong, Rosanne Wong, Anson Leung (One Night in Mongkok)
The Pang brothers are known for their flash and panache with their film directing and editing, they have also created a couple of really good films, Bangkok Dangerous and The Eye. Unfortunately their visual flair is often more impressive than the films they create, The Eye 2 and others, for once the styling works perfectly for the subject matter.
Jiney is an art student, a decent painter but an excellent photographer. She often attains the highest scores but is unhappy with her work until one day she takes photos at a car crash, she is sickened, repulsed but also fascinated, when she sees the results of her work she feels that at last she has found something to satisfy and stimulate her.
She starts taking more pictures at the moment of death, whether people or animals and becomes more than a little obsessed. All the time shes doing this shes being stalked by a male admirer from her class, despite the fact that she has told him shes a lesbian he continuously follows and films her. Her lover, Jas becomes distraught with Jineys obsessive behaviour and does her best to get her away from the subject of death.
For a while it works, Jiney appears to have realised how sick it was but she suddenly receives a video tape with what she assumes (and hopes) is a fake snuff movie. The video contains extremely violent scenes culminating in the death of the girl but both Jiney and Jas are convinced its just a fake thats been made by Jineys stalker. Its only when Jiney finds another snuff video outside her home that she takes it seriously, but what can or will she do?
As I said earlier, the main build up is ideal for the Pangs filming and editing techniques, as the main subject is art and photography. Everything runs along very well, the idea is interesting and the characters believable but..
Yes unfortunately once again there has to be a but! Once the snuff tape is received, the film changes tack and loses everything its carefully built up. You can maybe excuse the first one (although it is pretty gruesome) but when the second one appears, its just so bloody obvious where the film is going and youll be able to work out the rest of the story in about 5 seconds.
Why, why, why, why, why. What the hell were they thinking, the only thing Ill say is that it turns from a well developed character study to a more gruesome and even more predictable version of Saw . What the f*%k happened? If this was a Hollywood film I wouldnt have been surprised but!
Anyway you get the point, with Audition it works because its constantly building towards it but it does not work in this film, its as though they couldnt decide where to take it so just decided to make it as brutal but predictable as possible, in my eyes its a film with a lot of promise but ultimately a failure, Im sure itll do really well in the US and UK.
Another little problem but this is nothing really, the two main characters, Jiney and Jas (the lesbian lovers) are real life sisters, although there are no scenes of a sexual nature it is a little odd.
BBFC rated 18.