Friday, April 28, 2017

No U-Turn, Clifford Choi, 1981

A Cinema City comedy, directed by a lesser known New Wave director, that somehow manages to be both humble and extravagant. For the most part, it stays strictly on street level (great location shooting, including at least some hidden camera stuff). Here, on the street, the world is rather strictly separated along gender lines. The men outside in their pimped out cars have trouble differentiating between shopgirls and prostitutes, the women inside in the boutiques shy away from naked men even when they're just photographs of antique statues.

The mood is playful, though. A would-be flasher doesn't hide a dick, but a pistole under his raincoat and when things get moving they move pretty fast. The two leads get to fuck rather early in the film, and this leads to what must be one of the best sex cutaways in film history... or it might just as easily be an hommage I didn't recognize, as this is obviously the work of a movie buff, most explicitly when the images of Dawn of the Dead watched by the protagonists in a cinema later reappear in No U-Turn's own climax.

But the romantic coupling of the leads is also comically doubled in the relationship of two minor characters, and all of these scenes are played out as slapstick of the most vulgar sort. Their first clumsy "love scene" is identified with / commented on by a wrestling match on tv (and introduced with a very weird shot / counter shot-sequence). There's a mean, nihilistic streak running through the whole film (culminating in an extremely gruesome car racing scene) which coexists rather uneasily with its general laid back attitude. A strange, fascinating mixture, a strictly commercial film staying within the compounds of its own genre at all time while still exploring its own little facette of Hong Kong craziness.

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