Magazine article Screen International

'The White Girl': London Review

Magazine article Screen International

'The White Girl': London Review

Article excerpt

Jenny Tseun and Christopher Doyle unite for a story set in Hong Kong’s last fishing village

Dirs: Jenny Suen, Christopher Doyle. Hong Kong. 2017. 97 mins

A fanciful drama which ties together three outsiders against the backdrop of a dying fishing community in Hong Kong, The White Girl is a victim of its own dogged quirkiness. Co-directed and co-written by Christopher Doyle and Jenny Suen (who also worked with him on Hong Hong Trilogy as a producer, editor and assistant director), this is a film which is constructed from sundry offbeat elements which never fully hang together as a whole.

This is a frustratingly elusive piece of storytelling

The Doyle name, and the legacy of his work with Wong Kar-wai, should ensure further festival bookings and perhaps minor VOD interest. However, it is too willfully obtuse and self-conscious to travel theatrically far beyond its domestic market.

The White Girl (Angela Yuen) - we never know her name - is allergic to sunlight. She spends her days shrouded in clothes and shaded by a broad brimmed hat and enigmatic sunglasses. To the rest of Pearl Village, the last fishing community in Hong Kong, her distinctive pale skin and mysterious appearance is cause for suspicion. She is branded a ghost. If she so much as looks at the nets, the fishermen are convinced that their fish-catching prospects have been dashed. If she touches the possessions of one of her school mates, they throw it away. Her overprotective father, a fisherman himself, guards her against both the sun’s rays, and the identity of, and truth about, her mother.

The only time that the White Girl feels free is at night, when she sheds her protective layers and wanders around the sea shore in pants, a vest and wellie boots. …

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