Review of “Vulgaria”
Directed by: Ho-Cheung Pang
Run time: 93 minutes
There have been movies, in the past, that told the story of a director or producer undergoing great trials and tribulations to get their film made. In “Vulgaria”, writer/director Pang Ho-Cheung takes that story frame and turns it upside down. Adding satire and sexually raunchy, profanity-filled humor, Pang comes close to the eye roll inducing style of something akin to “The Hangover”. Fortunately, Pang knows just when to tone things down, and ultimately keeps his film from drifting into that territory resulting in something quite entertaining.
The story centers on Hong Kong film producer To Wai-Cheung (Chapman To) giving a lecture to a college film class. Immediately, we know the students are in for an unforgettable lecture, when he starts off by comparing being a movie producer to pubic hair. He explains that much like pubic hair reduces painful friction during sex, a producer’s job is to reduce friction between a movie’s financiers and it’s director and cast.
From there, To launches straight into his shocking tale of producing his latest film (a sequel to an actual Hong Kong porno flick) titled “Confessions of Two Concubines”. I shouldn’t reveal too much of the yarn he spins, but it involves all of the debauchery you would find behind the scenes of a sexploitation flick. Crime bosses forcing people to perform sexual acts with mules, a beautiful woman (Dada Chan) who worked her way into the industry by giving “Popping candy” blow jobs, and a video game based on training people how to give hand jobs are all in the mix.
“Vulgaria” certainly lives up to it’s name. It evens warns it’s audience, before the start of the film, by saying if you can’t handle offensive, sexual content you have ten seconds to leave. The strange thing about that is that there is no sex shown in the entire film. In fact, there is not even nudity. This sets it apart from the more controversial films (think “Visitor Q”) that have a similar feel. All of the depravity takes place off screen, which some might argue takes away from the film but it didn’t bother me. I have quite a vivid imagination, thank you very much!
If you are ever in the mood to watch a genuinely funny film that is weird and yes… vulgar, “Vulgaria” might just be what you are looking for. I enjoyed it, and would recommend it to people who I know can stomach quite a bit of raunchiness in their humor. If nothing else, I can say I have never seen a movie I would outright compare it to. Points for originality!