Angels Wear White
12th October 2017 8.45pm at Embankment Garden Cinema
13th October 2017 2.00pm at Embankment Garden Cinema
14th October 2017 1.00pm at Rich Mix
The problems girls and women face, the real problems, aren’t covered enough in modern cinema. It’s disheartening to realise, in every industrial direction one turns, these are still considered minority issues. Thankfully, we have Chinese filmmaker Vivian Qu to provide a confrontational antidote. After two 12-year-old schoolgirls are raped in a hotel room by a well-respected Police Commissioner, the parents strive for justice. But with so many people unwilling to come forward, given the Commissioner’s status, the task proves next to impossible.
Conventional crime dramas with such lurid subject matters tend to focus on the characters seeking the truth, the ones desperate for the bad guys to get their comeuppance. But Qu flips this round. Angels Wear White centres on the characters who don’t desire, or even acknowledge, justice. There’s Mia, a worker at the hotel where the rape took place, who withholds evidence to get money for a legal ID. And there’s Wen, one of the schoolgirls, who is constantly blamed and abused by her mother because of what happened. Wen doesn’t want to say anything, out of fear. The film explores these characters, who would usually be secondary, in poignant detail.
Qu largely focuses on maintaining the hardcore realism of the story, but throws in images of startling, surreal beauty. The most prominent is the giant statue of Marilyn Monroe trying to push down the frilly white dress from The Seven-Year Itch. Both Wen and Mia feel drawn to the statue, and feel disenchanted when they find posters glued to her bare ankles. Qu does go overboard with this image, reiterating exactly the same obvious point over and over again. However, it offers a splash of absurdity to counterbalance the intense realism of the story.
Angles Wear White is a feminist social drama, forcing the audience to open their eyes wider. Women are placed front and centre, and it’s the men who are pushed to the side-lines – even the villains are barely seen. This is deeply refreshing, and one hopes there will be more movies like this in future. It raises difficult and uncomfortable truths. In this film, ignorance isn’t bliss – it’s harmful.
Angels Wear White does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch a clip from Angels Wear White here: