失魂 | Chung Mong-hong, 2013
Taiwan | Mandarin and Taiwanese with English subtitles | Format: DCP | 112 minutes
New York Premiere
Note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, actor Jimmy Wong Yu is no longer able to attend.
Chung Mong-hong’s third feature (after Parking and The Fourth Portrait) is a slasher by way of art film that follows the almost silent Chuan (Joseph Chang), a chef in Taipei who suddenly collapses at work. His sister Hsiao Yun (Chen Hsiang-chi) and two friends drive him to the country home of Uncle Wang (festival guest Jimmy Wong Yu), who lives deep in the forest growing orchids. Soon Chuan commits his first murder and when confronted by Uncle Wang claims he is no longer Chuan. So begins a killing spree—and a duo of great cameos by Leon Dai and Tuo Tsung-hua who both show up in search of the growing number of missing people. While not as tightly focused as Chung’s debut film, Soul is anchored and elevated by Jimmy Wong Yu’s portrayal of Uncle Wang. He is quietly crazier than everyone else in the film yet manages to portray a full range of emotions as he tries to deal with a situation that is rapidly spiraling out of control. The other element that elevates this film is the stunning cinematography by Chung himself working under the pseudonym Nakashima Nagao. The beauty of central Taiwan comes through clearly with loving widescreen shots of misty hills and lush forests, but also impressive is how Chung manages to make the small ramshackle home of Uncle Wang stand out in some of the best shots in the film. Presented with the support of the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York.