A mentally ill stockbroker is looked after by his estranged father and perturbed ex-fiancée in Mad World, the first feature-length film from Hong Kong director Wong Chun. This Saturday, the film took the Grand Prix at Osaka Film Festival – a rising showcase for indie talent in Asia.
Strengthened by A-lister Shawn Yue's performance, the film is a subtle character study of a individual struggling to contain his inner chaos in a hectic city. Unlike Hong Kong’s typical slow-pan melodramas, Mad World is audaciously unshowy – achieved within a slim budget of just $258,000.
Moving away from his typical pretty-boy persona, Yue plays Tung, who has just finished a spell in a psychiatric hospital. Meeting him on the outside is his truck driver father (Eric Tsang), who brings Tung to his home – a cramped bedsit in a downtown tenement. Flashbacks reveal Tung’s problems with his mentally unwell mother and fiancée, while a huge row with his dad in the present reveals his abrupt departure from the family when he was a child. Tung’s challenge is to deal with his trauma through a long path of catharsis, confession and reconciliation.