Tuesday, April 13, 2021

‘Nina Wu’ Review: Destruction of Body and Soul


It is quite easy to slap the #MeToo label on “Nina Wu” and call it a day. Yes, its titular heroine (a notable Wu K-shee, who is also a co-writer) is an actress brutalized and exploited by a faux film industry, and Taiwanese director, Midi Z, never pulls out her punches. . Yet this shockingly seamless, complex and confrontational new film is not interested in justice or theism.

An internet-famous livestreamer living alone in Taipei, Nina plays the lead role in a ritual period thriller that will eventually affect her career. He consents to the battle for full-frontal nudity (he is constantly reminded that a true professional will not mind), and on the set he somehow has the “mad talent” to expect the most realistic performance. Violently abused by the director.

“They are destroying not only my body, but my soul as well,” repeats our waxed-eyed ingestion as the story jumps back and forth in her many auditions. This is a line from the script of the movie-in-the-movie, yet as the camera’s tight frame catches his face and engages in his torturous feelings like a tragic scene, his performance eventually becomes his truth is.

Like “Mulholland Drive”, a clear touchstone, “Nina Wu” becomes increasingly obnoxious as the erotic craze rattling the actress, rattling off a jealous rival. At the same time, the cinematic illusion is rendered rude by the reality with rubbing that seems truly shocking.

The traumatic experiences are, after all, no less intense as they are caught on camera.

Naturally, Nina is never merely a symbol for the oppression of women, although she is a victim. In her red dress – which she wears for her final, fateful audition – she is just another actress, a number, a body. Yet she emerges completely as herself, scar and all, daring to look away at you.

Nina Wu
Not rated. In Mandarin, with subtitles. Running Time: 1 hour 42 minutes. View through Moving Cinema’s Museum of Virtual Cinema.



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