Dir: Pang Ho-cheung. Hong Kong. 2012. 90mins
Having spent much of his career filtering good humour through very bad taste, writer-director Pang Ho-cheung delivers arguably his naughtiest picture to date with a pitch-black comedy whose central mystery concerns whether its protagonist has had sexual intercourse(s) with a mule. While its potentially offensive content is either verbal or merely implied, Vulgaria’s readiness to revel in its own political incorrectness should ensure its popularity with festivals looking for curiosity items.
This film-biz satire displays a reckless abandon in mentioning genitals – of humans and other species – as frequently as it possibly can.
The film world-premiered at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and is scheduled for a summer release locally – tentatively in late June.
Shot in 12 days without a complete script, the movie is essentially a series of side-splitting episodes related by producer To Wai-cheung (Chapman To, who previously starred in a much more reserved role in Pang’s Isabella) at a sharing session with cynical film students. Pushed to defend his worth in the role, the downtrodden veteran recalls the ridiculously dramatic journey of getting his latest project, a remake of the 1976 soft-core flick I Want More!, off the ground.
To do that would mean to satisfy the whims of investor Brother Tyrannosaurus (Ronald Cheng), a mainland Chinese gangster boss who’s into exotic food and kinky sex; to persuade the original film’s lead actress (Susan Shaw playing herself) to take her part again; and to secure further financial support from his disillusioned ex-wife (played by Kristal Tin, To’s real-life spouse). Pang’s penchant for male sexual fantasy is again evident as his character’s plight is partly relieved by the affection of a teenage model, Popping Candy (Dada Chan), who earns her nickname with her unusual fellatio technique.
With an original Chinese title that translates as Vulgar Comedy, this film-biz satire displays a reckless abandon in mentioning genitals – of humans and other species – as frequently as it possibly can; in fact, the irreverent tone is immediately set at the start of the film when the function of movie producers is compared to that of pubic hair (“to ease friction between two people”). As has become the norm for Pang’s recent efforts, Vulgaria also concludes with extended post-credits sequences which provide the movie’s ultimate comic punch line.
Production company: Making Film
International sales: Golden Scene Co. Ltd., www.goldenscene.com
Producers: Pang Ho-cheung, Subi Liang
Scriptwriters: Pang Ho-cheung, Lam Chiu-wing, Luk Yee Sum
Original story: Pang Ho-cheung
Cinematography: Jason Kwan
Art and costume designer: Ho Lok-lam
Editor: Wenders Li
Original music: Alan Wong, Janet Yung
Main cast: Chapman To, Dada Chan, Kristal Tin, Ronald Cheng, Fiona Sit