the filmmaker of [e’TZAINTES] comes “A WICKED TALE” –
a dark psycho-erotic re-imagination of the Little Red Riding Hood story.
An adolescent with a curious fascination for the unknown meets a mysterious
stranger who lures her into his game of seduction and manipulation. Set
in an enigmatic fantasy world where nothing is the way it seems, cult director
Tzang Merwyn Tong retells the fable of innocence lost through a series of
very strange montages
This is Tzang Merwyn Tong’s retelling of the Grimm brother’s
“Little Red Riding Hood”, where the tale gets really bloody
and erotic. Beth is Little Red, a nubile Lolita dressed in proverbial virginal
white and the essential red cape, sent off by her mother to her grandmama’s.
Louis le Bon is the wolf, a predatory and self-admittedly amoral amalgamation
of man’s every primal desire. The sexual tension between them is disturbing
and crude, culminating in a climax that will confound and illuminate the
darker aspects of Beth sexuality. The vulgarity of the film’s eroticism
is not without reason: Tzang is seeking to debunk the stereotype of the
wolf and expose the equally violent sexuality that Beth is not only fascinated
by, but in control of.
There is no
limit as to where Tzang is willing to take the darkness of the story and
he handles this well; “A Wicked Tale” is shot in such enterprising
angles that it stays offbeat and indeed injects new blood to a story that
has been retold to death. Taking such risks as Tzang does assures him an
audience torn between abhorrence and amazement at his interpretation, yet
it is obvious that only a stylistically confident director will be able
to see this production through.
what culminates is brutally crude and arguably necessary but perhaps the
violence is in itself social commentary. A lot has been said by Tzang about
Singaporeans’ conformist and conservative attitudes and “A Wicked
Tale” certainly breaks out of that mould, but are we ready for such
a bold film? Probably not. It’s too in-your-face and out of this world
to create comfortable relevance but this film WILL stir up the underground
and cement Tzang’s indie status, and that’s perhaps enough for
DVD includes a limited edition bonus feature: Tzang Merwyn Tong’s
“no-budget teenage black comedy that started it all”, otherwise
known as [e’Tzaintes]. This feature is longer than “A Wicked
Tale” itself, which should make you think that you got your money’s
worth, but “e’Tzaintes” is an amateur film of such horrendous
ventures that it’s almost kind of good. The disclaimer on the sub-menu
says it all: “No budget. No technical experience. Bad sound. Lousy
acting.” You’ll have to give them credit for daring to trash
this out, get it made and be able to laugh at themselves for it.
DVD only has English Dolby Digital 2.0.
favourite aspect of “A Wicked Tale” would be the way it was
shot. Tinged in shades of amber and maroon, the film is appropriately dark,
seductive and dangerous.
Review by Angeline Chui