‘Nina W’ evaluate: A deep psychological dive into exploitation

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“Is nudity needed within the story or is it simply to make a sensation?”

This deliberate rumination meets us solely scenes into the latest movie from Taiwanese director Midi Z, “Nina Wu.” It’s spoken to the titular Nina (Wu Ke-Xi), a Taipei-based livestreamer and aspiring actress who’s hesitant to think about a job that appears to vow success but in addition includes full-frontal nudity. Her agent, one of many many manipulative male characters we meet all through the movie who depend on equally clear arguments in favor of supposed artistry or authenticity, is within the midst of making an attempt to assuage her reluctance. For director Midi, nevertheless, this act of meta-discourse additionally seems to underscore the movie’s central thesis.

His psychological thriller roots its actions of narrative destabilization inside Nina’s expertise of violence and gendered subjugation. We witness her sexual assault, her abusive mistreatment by the hands of a male director whose distorted concept of onscreen depth is that it have to be inextricable from real-life mistreatment. We reside additionally inside her psyche — what start as nearly surrealistic visible tics escalate into deeply inside worlds that absolutely envelop each us and Nina as we’re successfully built-in into her worsening psychological state.

Wu, who additionally serves as co-writer, is astonishing in her dexterity and talent to evoke the confrontational as actually because the desolate. “They’re not solely destroying my physique however my soul,” she repeats all through “Nina Wu,” a line from the film-within-a-film that serves a twin goal right here as an indictment expressed with such rising urgency that it transfigures beneath the burden of its livedness.

Midi right here doesn’t parallel the male gaze that we see Nina expertise in multitudes; as a substitute, he bears sympathetic, important witness to the abuses that she is made to endure in addition to the extreme decline of her psychological stability that it undoubtedly initiates. The concessions that Nina is anticipated to make as a girl beholden to the needs and abuses of males are right here made inside as we witness her thoughts try to navigate the fact of the trauma she has endured.

Reality and delusion intermingle inside this house, materializing not as spectacle or doubt, however slightly as an embodied, if not literalized, research of the methods by which ladies try to intellectually and emotionally make sense of their experiences of exploitation.

‘Nina Wu’

In Taiwanese Mandarin with English subtitles

Not rated

Working time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Taking part in: Laemmle Digital Cinema; additionally out there on digital and VOD

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