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Singapore Mental Health Film Festival 2019

Mad World

Opening Date
24 Feb 2019
PG13 Some Coarse Language
126 mins
Cantonese with English & Chinese subtitles
Wong Chun
Shawn Yue, Eric Tsang , Elaine Jin , Charmaine Fong
The film begins with a father picking up his bipolar son from a mental hospital. Both men are in deep remorse for the accident that killed the mother. The tension and anxiety boil as they stick with each other in a tiny flat. As time passes, they realise that their pain is due to the cruel and unjust society. 
By Flora  22 Jun 2017
Mad World tackles the stigma of mental illness in an awakening narrative. 
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It’s not every day that you come across a film that speaks volumes about the cruel reflection of society's discrimination towards those who suffer from mental illness. 

The film tells a story about a stockbroker, Tung (Shawn Yue) who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was recently discharged from a mental hospital. His estranged father (Eric Tsang) helps his process of reintegrating back into society, despite the continual stares from the people around him. The constant flashbacks - which are slowly revealed - remind him of his painful past which led him to commit an act he regrets tremendously. 

Through a series of everyday events and occasions, the constant struggle to be ‘normal’ poses a problem for Tung - with judgemental stares from his neighbours, unwanted chatter from his best friend’s wedding guests, and society’s cruel way of shutting its door on him. He turns to his bed in a small shoe-box apartment, crying for help in silence. 

Wong Chun’s depressing tale won two prizes at Taiwan’s prestigious Golden Horse Awards, together with three wins at the Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Tsang), Best Supporting Actress (Elaine Jin), and Best New Director Award for Chun. 

The low budget feature is a reflection of how ignorance and pre-conceived judgements on a certain issue affects one man’s road to recovery. While these ordinary people mean no harm in any way, their actions and little gossips are magnified from a victim’s point of view; that probably stem from fear and presumptions. 

Shawn Yue sheds his pretty-boy image for a worn-out, distressed patient. In his flashbacks, you don’t see a stark contrast of personality with his current behaviour, but the nuances he portrayed as a man struggling with his bipolar disease is one helluva performance. The inner roller-coaster temperaments of a troubled young man are displayed in the subtlety of Yue’s expressions and movements, finely executed by the Hong Kong singer-actor. 

Though primarily focused on Yue’s journey, the film provides adequate screen time to its supporting cast, like Tsang as the estranged father, and Jin, the bedridden and psychologically abusive mother. The parent-son interactions display the scuffle for each in varying disparities but often breaks down to the core problem of empathy and understanding. For Tsang, know to many as the talented host in mainly quirky roles, gives a dramatic performance that seals his reputation as an actor. 

For the most part, Mad World can be quite a difficult to watch; to see Tung spiralling into emptiness, and to watch him getting eaten up by discrimination all around. In a rather slow-paced narrative, Mad World offers an intimate look into the life of one man’s ‘mad world’, trying to survive the alternative mad world out there. 
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Official Trailer
Additional Information
  • Previously screened at Singapore Chinese Film Festival 2017

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