Film: The Child’s Eye (Tung Ngaan / 童眼 )
Venue: Prince Charles Cinema, London
Further Info: http://www.princecharlescinema.com/
Lam Ka Tung
(Running time: 115 mins)
So. This film was first for me – and actually the last of the films on the Saturday – at 2011’s Terracotta Far East Film Festival.
“You may be witnessing a transition here from a non-too-keen horror genre buff to a keen one.”
That’s how I was going to start the review to Child’s Eye right up to about a third or even half way into it…but then, in the words of Pulp… “Something Changed”…
Firstly, I have to admit like some kind of fool, that again (!) I wasn’t even thinking this was a horror, from the trailer anyway. This was pretty foolish because as someone I met later that evening pointed out, even the colours of the film and therefore the trailer indicate horror. Although I disagree… to a degree.
Indeed I didn’t have the English subtitles in the trailer and I’m unsure if even I had the sound turned up for the Hong Kong dialogue. I do remember seeing a guy cutting some kind of red substance or meat but hey, that doesn’t necessarily mean ‘horror’. Anyway, it will teach me for not reading the synopsis fully [but you may know already that I avoid this most times] or perhaps I had read it but got it confused with one of the others showing in this fest.
Anyway, the movie begins. And… contains some nicely done titles. A quiet shot follows, one of a couple sitting on a pier talking about their relationship and a holiday which they’re on, in Thailand. I must admit though, I thought that this scene was on China/Hong Kong’s coast somewhere, and not Thailand’s. It for sure didn’t look like any part of Thailand I’d visited, and that is quite a bit. I was thinking that “yeah, sure just because this is set in Thailand the cast & crew surely wouldn’t need to film it there, especially if it was going to be mostly internal scenes”. I was wrong.
This was indeed Thailand. Good ol’ Bangkok, except at the times of the recent riots*.
[*Incidentally, I’m putting the finishing touches to the last of these Terracotta Far East Film Festival reviews as we – here in the UK – experience our own riots… The difference being that our riots have no ultimate political goal… And in case you didn’t know, also caused hundreds of thousands of pounds in damages and loss to our favourite independent film distributors. Essentially… Arrow Films, Artifical Eye, The BFI, Crabtree Films, Cine-Asia, Dogwoof Films, Exposure Cinema, Eureka, Kaleidoscope Films, Left Films, Masters of Cinema, Metrodome Films, New Wave Films, Peccadillo Pictures, Revolver Entertainment, Showbox Home Entertainment, Terracotta, Third Window Films and Warp Films]
We meet all 6 youngsters here in Bangkok – 3 couples including the couple from the opening shot.
The film proceeds with humour, intentionally quick-frights and of course the introduction of more characters. Real or unreal? That would be telling… and truthfully, at this point I wasn’t entirely sure who these newcomers were.
One thing I wondered though – Did this film taint the Thai people with a bad reputation? I mean, either with the depiction of the riots or the Thailand native character.
On the characters in general, I wasn’t sure if one of their names (‘Man’) deserved the sniggers or laughter it drew in the auditorium. Was it intentional or just an often used Thai first name? The same could be said for the dog’s name.
I mention a dog and indeed if you don’t like dogs then maybe you shouldn’t see this movie. Then again, isn’t that the point of horrors? i.e. To see something which you don’t like or which you know will scare you.
Talking of scaring you – or at least making one feel uneasy – there is soon a scene where I was dying to narrate the phrase “my blood is boiling” over the top and I really didn’t know whether perhaps the director was being subliminal or even arty with such actions. You know the type of things – When directors, writers or actors go on like “you see? this scene is meant to represent…” Hopefully, you’ll know which shot or scene I’m referring to.
Half way through, I remembered that this picture was initially shown (and shot) in 3D. This would explain a few scenes from early on in the film. But I thought, this film premiered at… Venice International Film Festival… Really? A 3D one? I guess that’s possible but it’s no Avatar.
Then the later shots – and in particular the effects – which were pretty bad* made me wonder further how on earth could such a movie have been selected for Venice. Maybe Venice have yet to see Avatar or Tron [but don’t let me start on Tron – but do see here, later: https://miniminimovie.com/2011/04/22/showcase-the-next-three-days-tron-legacy/]… I jest about Venice of course, I’m sure they’ve seen Avatar… Or was it named “Avenice” there?
*The largest laughs came with such a shot of, well (without spoiling) a ‘kind of’ dog. This laughter & the shots themselves were encouraging me to put a rating of ‘3’ on my Terracotta scorecard after the film – Maybe I don’t have my own mind. Anyway I saw other same or similar ratings for this movie. Perhaps in 3D it would have meant more or seemed intentionally amusing.
And lastly, on the 3D aspect. I had a thought about how film & TV has changed throughout history, and I subconsciously used this as a comparison to the film – or the film as a metaphor for such changes.
As sure as this was a 2D version of a 3D film, any dog would still see in Black & White wouldn’t it? Or… would it see in full Technicolour now that the filmmaking has advanced to 3D…? I say ‘advanced’ but to me 3D is not an advancement. Perhaps an advancement in profits. This is Hollywood’s intention, and that’s a given.
That said, perhaps you have to hand it the Pang Brothers [twins] for co-directing the film, as it marks (and therefore is) Hong Kong’s first 3D movie. Hollywood will no doubt remake it – in fact that is already on the cards, I believe. Well, Hollywood will remake ‘anything’. They see Special Effects as: the ‘effect’ it has at the box office being of a ‘special’ one! Ah my lighthearted slant on things – there it goes again.
Following the film I wandered over to – after ever so slightly debating not to go – the Terracotta Cafe, a makeshift gathering point just for this festival, above & a part of a pub in Chinatown, almost aptly. This is where was to be the festival party.
Find this Trailer and other Minier [ok, that’s not a real word, but…] Movies here at:
“Child’s Eye through Mini Mini’s Eye”: