WFF Review : PARKING
As I mentionned earlier in my first article on the World Film Festival, this event suffers from TIFF picking up the majority of the year’s exciting titles. There are some exceptions and Parking is one of them. Why Toronto didn’t pick this first feature is a total mystery. This gem puts a new talent in Taiwanese cinema on the map, a promising director named Chung Mong-hong.
On Mother’s Day. All Chen Mo wants is to go home and have dinner with his wife. In order to make her happy, he stops in a bakery store and buys her a cake. During this brief moment, someone double-parks in front of Chen Mo’s car, making it impossible for him to leave. While looking for the vehicule’s owner, the unlucky man falls in various situations and meets a gallery of unique characters. The night promises to be long, but things should be resolved when dawn finally shows up.
Going deeper into details would spoil all the many surprises that awaits in Parking. The script uses what we could call the domino effect where one situation will lead to another and introduce new protagonists. This device allows the script to constantly switch tones. A drammatic scene boosting heavy dialogues will be followed by an hilarious moment featuring physical humour. The director also take the opportunity to give every subplots a specific mise-en-scène with their own colors and camera movements. The whole enterprise works pretty well by always remaining fluid and never forced. All the stories, as different as they can be, are perfectly melted together. The film does get overlong towards the end, but the fantastic conclusion makes the wait rewarding.
Such a good script needs and deserves good acting. Parking definitely delivers in that department. As Chen Mo, Wong Kar Wai’s regular Chan Chaige gives an outstanding performance as a man keeping his cool in front on the adversity. The rest of the ensemble cast is also excellent as likeable characters looking for the sun to rise on their personnal night.
This choral is comparable to Robert Altman’s best work. Let’s hope it’ll get the attention it deserves in North America, either on import DVD’s or, even better, during film festivals. Make sure to catch this movie, you won’t regret it.