Mad World: “To avoid, or to confront? To deny, or to embrace? To give up, or to make a change?”
Directed by Wong Chun
Original title: Yat Nim Mou Ming
Origin: Hong Kong
Time: 101 minutes
Starring: SHAWN YUE, ERIC TSANG
Produced by CHIU SUNG KEE, HEIWARD MAK
Screenplay by FLORENCE CHAN
Presented at Toronto Film Festival 2016
The film begins with an old man who has long been absent as a father(Eric TSANG), picking up his son (Shawn YUE), who is suffering from bipolar disorder, from a mental hospital. Both men are in deep remorse for the accident that caused the death of the mother (Elaine JIN). The tension and anxiety boil as they stay with each other in a tiny subdivided flat. As time passes, they realize the pain between one another is not the only confrontation that awaits them; but also to face the cruel and unjust world that they are living in.
This is a story that I’d like to pose to the people of Hong Kong; how do we confront, awaken, empower ourselves, and seek change in the world that we are currently living in. No matter how long the problem has been rotting away in our souls, and no matter how much we try to suppress it, once we realize that we are our own entity, we can choose to mend relationships, and change the predicaments around you, more than we can ever imagine. If you allow yourself to do so; you can become a whole new person every waking morning. We play the roles of the father and the son in ‘Mad World’, but we are also the people who live around them. Their neighbors in the subdivided flat are also people who are suppressed without a sense unity, and so naturally, they will prey on the weak. We are not bad people, but we tend to violence without knowing, sometimes out of weakness, and sometimes out of ignorance. This is a banal evil, but also a reflection of our society. Humans are not born good or evil; we are accountable for the judgments and decisions we make in our every day lives, and from that, little by little we learn to become a better person. Just like learning to make better films.With a tight production budget of HKD 2 million, we cannot even fathom working with such a talented cast. Both stars immediately said yes after I pitched the project to them, and were willing to take a significant pay cut to participate in this project. Besides the fact that I'm tremendously grateful, it also made me realize that scripts have the power to move and connect people.
"This is not a story where the main character becomes a hero overnight, and one where everyone lives happily ever after. Sometimes in reality, no matter how hard
we try, we still suffer from crushing defeat. Society teaches us to aspire to be rich and successful, and men are expected to present machismo and heroism; but the truth is, regardless of age, gender, or social status, we all have moments of fear, pain, and weakness. To us, film is an immensely powerful, and irreplaceable medium. As the lights of the theater go out, audience members are invited into the lives of people who are on the other side of the world, of different cultures and nationalities. People who suffer from mental illnesses are labeled as ‘worthless’ in our society, but if you take some time to listen to their stories, you will start to forget about the labels, and instead, you’ll see a living person, with blood and flesh, just like any of us.
Perhaps you share the same pain with the character in the film, or perhaps you were
lucky enough to not experience failure, and thus you cannot empathize on another
person’s pain, but once you step out of the theatre, nothing is the same anymore.
Perhaps it has alleviated some of the pain inside of you, perhaps it has taught you
to be compassionate, and perhaps it allowed for you to accept your own weaknesses
and failures. This is when we can choose to pick ourselves back up and learn to become a better, stronger person, and realize our full potential as a human being.
Damage is often caused by ignorance, and it happens on a day-to-day basis, and we
cannot count on superheroes to make the world a better place. The most powerful
thing about the medium of film is that it allows the audience to feel the love and fear of the characters, thus linking people together, and maybe, make the world a little bit better. We shall walk the path in front of us with a modest heart. " [Florence Chan]
Funded by the Film Development Fund of Hong Kong
Supported by Create Hong Kong