@ 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival
This is really a big mixed bag of short flicks hales from 4 major Asia film market regions. In saying that it is a mixed bag is not an understatement, as each individual short films varies from being great (My Way – Ann Hui’s segment) to almost unbearably un-watchable The Walker segment. The Walker segment is unashamedly poor and most likely the longest 20 minutes I have to endure in any kind of movie. In fact the 20 minutes seems more like a hour as the monk walks at a snail pace around the bustling city of Hong Kong. Some may call it artistic; I call it the biggest load of pretentious bullshit. It is really that bad. The other two fairs better, but ultimately not memorable enough to be remembered. The exception to the rule is once again Ann Hui, who made use of every one of those 20 minutes and all credit to Francis Ng is tackling a difficult role as a female born with male body. Still, a good 20 minutes does not make the other 60 minutes more bearable and in many ways, Hui’s segment can easily be made into a full length feature.
Back to the “The Walker”, no matter what the good intention is behind the whole juxtaposition of Hong Kong lifestyle and the monk, a film needs to entertain, excite and be enjoyable. “The Walker” fails big time in all aspect and in essence certainly does not deserve any of the perigee it is getting. In fact, I can go on forever as to how I felt like I wasted 10 hours rather than 20 minutes sitting through the slowest and never-ending segment of the “The Walker”. On the other hand, Hui managed to entertain and is not afraid to have some fun in the proceeding. Francis Ng is one heck of a one great actor whose range is unprecedented. He is ably supported by the much missed 90s action heroine Jade Leung who is able to show the emotions of a woman in the face of her husband becoming a transsexual.
All in all, there is doubt that Beautiful 2012 is a mixed bag of good and bad eggs. Unfortunately, by the time the film reaches Hui’s segment, the audience attention is already on a downward scale. It is a disappointing effort from the other three major cinematic regions in Asia. Personally, I would much rather have seen a feature length film showing Francis Ng afterlife as a new-being refreshed into Hong Kong society. However, Beautiful 2012 is anything, but beautiful and in fact, The Walker segment is just outright awful. Honestly, wait for the DVD and fast forward to the Korean and Hong Kong segment and pretty much ignore the rest. Hard to recommend, except for Hui and Francis Ng’s saga…
Neo rates it 5/10 (average rating of the four shorts)
The Walker (0/10)
You are more than Beautiful (6/10)
Long Tou (5.5/10)
My Way (8/10)