NZIFF ’10: Dream Home (維多利亞壹號)

nziff ’10: Dream Home (維多利亞壹號)
Dir. Pang Ho-Cheung | Hong Kong | 2010 | 90 mins.

The second film in this year’s festival by Pang Ho-Cheung, and one in a completely different genre to his Love in a Puff. Well, two genres actually: a sort of social commentary on the quality and expense of apartment housing in Hong Kong, and a gory horror film. Li-sheung’s ideal apartment is one with a harbour view, but her call-centre job means such a place is out of financial reach—besides, the people who own the place she so desperately wants have decided at the last minute not to sell. But indignant vendors and a lack of funds won’t stop her: in order to make the sellers give up the apartment she goes on a killing—more slaughtering, really—spree in the neighbouring apartments.

The film alternates between the aforementioned slicing and dicing and sequences, in flashback, that show why Li-sheung’s apartment battle is so close to her heart. Director Pang is clearly a versatile filmmaker, but here lets his one strength—an incontrovertible sense of style expressed through an obvious love for cinema itself—fade into the background in order to allow the gore and violence to take centre stage, thus robbing the film of much of its power.

Dream Home may play in the upcoming Hong Kong Film Festival, and will most likely be out on DVD later this year.