Cannes Film Review: ‘Nina Wu’

Variety | 5/20/2019 | Jessica Kiang
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“They don’t just want to take my body, they want to take my soul!” So runs the overripe line of dialogue that actress Nina Wu (Wu Kexi) has to repeat again and again in “Nina Wu,” the fascinating, glitchy, stylish, and troublesome new film from Taiwanese director Midi Z (“The Road to Mandalay”). Nina practices the line in the mirror, rehashes it in auditions (and “auditions”) and then in take after take until it becomes a kind of mantra that threads through the film, or less poetically, the line of gibberish that a doll might parrot when you pull its string. Each time, Nina cries. And each time, the words seem to get rawer, a little of their clichéd glibness scuffing off, as we discover that the film is very much about how the taking of a body can cue the taking of a soul, and furthermore, how insidiously the victim of this double theft can be subconsciously convinced of her own complicity in it.

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Cannes - Film - Review - Wu

Cannes Film Review: 'Nina Wu'

“Nina Wu” was written by its luminous star, inspired by her own experiences as a young actress and by the Harvey Weinstein scandal — much of which happened in plush hotel rooms not far from the Cannes theater where this Un Certain Regard title had its debut. And as the first directly #MeToo-related narrative to play in this context, it is a deeply challenging one, perhaps destined to be misinterpreted in some quarters, as it resists, even contradicts the simplification of its central act of violation into an obviously empowering, triumph-over-adversity arc. One of the basic tenets of #MeToo is that we listen to women; but what if they do not say exactly what #MeToo needs to hear?

Taipei - Apartment - Nina - Dumplings

In her cramped Taipei apartment, Nina prepares some dumplings and...
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