By Onyx Staff | 04/09/2021
A Un Certain Regard selection at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, NINA WU is more than just a psychological thriller. First and foremost, it’s the portrait of a struggling Taiwanese actress who suffers mental and physical abuse while attempting to break into the film industry.
Which isn’t to say it strays too far from its genre pedigree. There are plenty of twists and turns, and director Midi Z often leaves us to wonder what’s real and what isn’t. But the tale this film weaves is darker and undeniably more important than the standard fare. The titular main character is often treated as less than human on set; berated by coworkers, attacked by the director, sexualized by the producers. Her experiences are deeply tragic, and far too familiar coming on the heels of the Me Too movement, where countless stories from women relayed similar events. At times, NINA WU can be difficult to watch. But that’s the point.
Wu Ke-xi is a revelation as Nina Wu (she also co-wrote the script with Midi Z). Being able to portray Wu’s mental decline while attempting to keep a struggling acting career afloat is no easy task, but Ke-xi makes it look effortless. And her performance is bolstered by truly magnificent cinematography that frequently left me breathless.
NINA WU is depressing, harrowing, and ultimately devastating. It’s also a film I cannot recommend enough. A hidden gem to be sure, and one that deserves far more attention than it has received so far.
NINA WU is available to watch right now: NINA WU
Written by Spencer Keller