G. Wilson, Shu Zhu
Want to talk contradiction? How about starting and ending with three words. The film industry. Never has an industry screamed glitter, glam, stars, and dreams as much as this one, and never has one also been associated with scandal, sex, abuse and the crushing of said dreams - as this one has. The image of the profession inspires, yet the reality is a polar opposite. Especially in light of recent scandals, the movie business has attracted a lot of attention and press for all the wrong reasons. Thus a slew of projects have recently surfaced taking on these issues in a real way. "Moth" from writers G. Wilson and Shu Zhu, has it's own take on the problems within the biz - as it crafts it's visually beautiful story. You know the story right? Now, get ready for the more personal version, complete with its own set of contradictions - mainly content versus visuals. The way this film plays out and looks is an exact opposite of it's seedy, gritty content. Perhaps, that's what makes it stand out in a growing crowd.
The film features Christine, the very picture of an actress bouncing from session to session auditioning for various roles. She's already had some success in the past, but is feverishly attempting to get her career on the move again. Even if you've never dreamed of acting before, you know the drill. A constant battle to get in, read from a script, and hope for the best as another waits in line to do the same thing. It doesn't sound like a hard life, until you realize that this charade actually takes the place of life. Need a job to pay the bills? Not so easy when you have to be on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Have a family? Again, it's very hard to juggle industry life and maintain said family. Kids? As Christine knows, ever so slowly even they begin to play second fiddle - all justified by thinking you're doing it for them, to give them a better life.
As Christine attempts to balance everything I wrote above, she finds herself slipping deeper and deeper into the abyss. Not for the first time I would bet, all to get herself that coveted leading role in an upcoming film. It's when she attends a party with the movie's producers, things get very tricky. She completely understands what's taking place before her eyes, as other hopefuls schmooze with those who can make their dreams a reality. She knows what she must do. The producers want something in order for them to really consider her for the role. Bluntly? It's her they want. An off-screen encounter for them to possibly fulfill their dreams of bedding a star. The other girls are doing it... it's only sex, right? Will Christine give them what they want, to up her chances of getting what she wants? You'll simply have to watch to find out.
From a production standpoint, "Moth" just glides across the screen. Cinematography, color, and sound all blend into a slick and polished short film. Clearly, there's a team of experts involved - and it shows. Jeanie Lim as Christine delivers a splendid performance right from the start - with her audition for a movie being a great way to show some real range. This is a woman who oozes experience and talent from start to finish. I can't visualize her character Christine being played by anyone else.
Perhaps what really separates this film from others, is that everything comes off as consensual. Right down to the slimy producers of the movies fictional upcoming film. Not once do these guys ever come out and say, "Hey Christine. You want the part? Sleep with one of us." They remain silent because they understand the way the industry works. It's the unspoken rule. Christine also knows this, and the battle is within herself. How she wants to proceed. Pressure without pressure. Shady practices left unsaid but expected. It's this movies ability to let us viewers know exactly what's going on, without actually stating anything, that makes this film stand out. The door that slowly closes on morality to achieve one's dreams. That's the true plot here. One that director Shu Zhu spells out so damn clearly, yet also so vaguely. Is it rape or sexual abuse if it's consensual? If the people involved know exactly what they are doing? That's the real question.
A feature-length film packed into a short film shell. That's how I describe the concepts at work within this movie. And it's all laid out so nicely. "Moth" is the full package and in my eyes, easily has earned it's four and a half star rating. Excellent work and highly recommended.