Even without rereading my diatribe against Night and Fog in Tin Shui Wai, I know I’ve tarred myself with several shades of dastardliness.
Did I have the right to cast aspersions on a film production, a process in which I have no experience or expertise? Was I going too far by decrying the depiction of fact? Who was I to deny the victims their day on the projector screen? Did I mean to be so unbearably boring in my lavish abuse of the English language?
Take cold comfort in that there was no snark intended, and that I’ve found out for you that adrenaline is a bad, bad drug to write on in the wee hours of the morning. Ah, and my views are not beholden to any advertiser or personal ties. So just take my take for what it is — a cyber-cringe from a garrulous grinch.
It’s clearer to me now that 天水圍的夜與霧 should be admired for how it was structured, set and shot — two hours’ worth of yarn was spun smooth and sure. But this crank’s concerns remain:
- Why did we have to witness the rape, abuse, self-mutilation, and the premedidated murders of a woman and two children with such detailed violence? To warn the Rihannas of the world? To jolt a jaded public to their senses?
- Why were public servants — the bureaucracaesars — like social workers, police and teachers shown to be mere tools of an implacable fate? Why did the director resort to stock characters?
I still find it hard to imagine recommending this to anyone except future crime-fighters. You can engender dialogue out of this audience abuse, but you’re going to need a steady hand to steer the stoked towards meaningful action, instead of getting sucked down a whirlpool of revulsion.
Maybe I’m just bitter about having my expectations defied (utterly so when Simon Yam did the crazy-man-roaring-into-camera thing) by an Ann Hui film. But then maybe somewhere in her oeuvre are similar meditations on rotten cores masked in tired rags.