As the name suggests, Vulgaria is a vulgar comedy from Hong Kong starring Chapman To and Kristal Tin. It is a hilarious and crude story of a struggling film producer tasked with remaking a well known erotic film for the leader of a triad gang.
The film within a film idea has been done to death, and Hollywood regularly knocks out films about the making of a film, such as Tropic Thunder. However there is something really fresh and different about Vulgaria, as its focus is not on the production of the film but the life of the film producer himself. The techniques used to break the fourth wall are very clever and stylish but avoid overstepping that fine line that sometimes pushes these kinds of films to be pretentious and try-hard.
To is a long time film producer who unfortunately hasn’t yet managed to produce anything of worth. When he ends up in financial crisis he calls upon a friend who is able to introduce him to a potential investor called Tyrannosauras. If the name isn’t weird enough, actor Ronald Cheng’s great performance as the crazy, mule obsessed businessman is sure to make you laugh, and at times cringe.
Vulgaria was released in Hong Kong last year and has been shown at a number of festivals, today was the first time it has been shown in the UK, and Coventry East Asian Film Society were lucky enough to be given a copy to screen. It’s laugh out loud funny, completely ridiculous and vulgar in all the right ways. Unlike a lot of mainstream Hollywood films, it doesn’t rely on explicit scenes to be funny, and most of it is implied which in many ways works to its favour.
Film producer To is explaining his job role to a group of students, and the story is told through flash backs. He tells the students that “a good producer is like a great thick bush of pubic hair” within the first few minutes which sets the tone of the rest of the film!
I would rank Vulgaria up there with comedies like The Hangover, it’s well worth watching when and if you get the chance! It’s clever, nicely shot, stylish and laugh out loud funny.