Film Review: KFC (2017) ‒ An evil that spreads through generations
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KFC 2017 poster — A TONGUE FOR A TONGUE
A feature film by Vietnamese director Lê Bình Giang that chronicles a transgenerational cycle of revenge that begins with the morbid fascinations of a deranged doctor who engages in cannibalism and necrophiliac intrigues.
Originally shot as a graduation project during his days as a film student, director Lê was dissuaded by academic advisers to drop the gory idea upon having read his script.
Through sheer determination, Lê persevered in the filming and screening of his audacious idea. He was denied graduation in the end but to the bold filmmaker, it did not matter.
The director maintains a strong stance in the film, which spanned a production period of five years.
He believes that the concept of evil has gone unfairly treated in the world of storytelling, while goodness has always been dealt the winning hand. He was motivated to prove that evil could be sustained through fueling evil in an unbreakable cycle and finally deliver the justice it deserves.
Throughout the movie, audiences are presented with gory visuals that border on perversion.
Set in the impoverished districts of Hanoi, the film begins with an unsettling monologue from an obese man in an abandoned building who sits at a table and coldly shares his thoughts on mixing Coke and Pepsi while chomping down on a fried chicken.
Those opening minutes set the tone of the 70-minute long movie: a depraved gastronomical adventure.
The director went to great lengths in making the film a realistic nightmarish experience.
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Posted by Premise on Saturday, 10 November 2018
For the role of the disturbed doctor, Lê had offered a casting call for someone who was genuinely afflicted by psychological issues. The actor who answered the call was considered dangerous to work with due to his mental abnormalities but Lê went ahead with the casting, which he deemed an excellent fit.
Many of the scenes within the film were captured sans special effects. In one appalling scene, a female actress was hung upturned while live worms were being propped on her body.
The graphic performance seemed remarkable because it was in fact, the real deal. The young woman was sobbing in terror during the scene, but the director kept the cameras rolling for the perfect take.
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In an earlier scene, a couple is involved in a motor accident. The onscreen effect was achieved through a risky move and brake method that could have proved disastrous for the stars when poorly timed.
The whole idea behind the realistic scenes was to evoke genuine fear from the actors. The director wanted to seize the hidden emotions of the actors as they were traumatised by their situation.
KFC throws the audience into a frantic disarray from its onset, with the abovementioned crash sequence that introduces the antagonist and his horrific pastime.
There is symbolism in the film title, according to the director. The letter “K” is the only capitalised alphabet, which represents how the fast food chain contextually ceases to be a brand and assumes the identity of a commonplace food staple such as rice or noodles. That idea is then twisted, with reference to cannibalism as a mundane dining preference.
Watch the full clip of KFC exclusively on www.premise.tv
Progressively through the movie, viewers are challenged to make sense of the non-linear perspective applied in the scenes, showing the multiplex relationships entwined within the karmic cycle.
Lê however, has one searing regret: the lengthy time taken for his production.
The outré filmmaker believes that an independent movie should be completed swiftly, all while the feelings devoted to the piece stay strong.
The longer the time elapsed, less inspiration remains for the work and this affects overall quality.
Director of KFC – Vietnamese filmmaker Lê Bình Giang
Director of photography, Nguyen Phuc Vinh, was a film school cohort mate of the director, who developed a pleasant working relationship with Lê on a previous production.
Phuc decided on the use of light props with low-key lighting that provided a creepy cinematography.
The biggest challenge was the continuous long shots employed throughout the film that were meant to cover every viable action and angle of realism, from the gnawing of the body parts, to the gruesome act of necrophilia.
Due to budget constraints, the movie was filmed in three segments over the course of five long years. This is perhaps, testament to the endurance of the director. Phuc relates that patience was the deciding factor for their collaboration, being impressed by the filmmaker who clung on dearly to his mission.
Lê feels that arthouse films continue to face budget and marketing problems.
Due to the acquired taste in genre, big media names are unwilling to accept any form of collaboration with something different and thus, less profitable. This is especially so in Asia, where the market is conservative and tend to shun unorthodox subject matter.
When KFC was screened in Europe, Lê was bombarded with all kinds of questions from a curious crowd. Some questions even disarmed the filmmaker (e.g. why were the children mistreated?) but Lê was pleased at the response because it proved that the audiences were paying attention.
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Author: Laurenzo Jude