starring Regina Lei, Tzu-Chiang Wang, Berant Zhu
written and directed by Rob Jabbaz
by Walter Chaw Canadian expat Rob Jabbaz has had it. His hyphenate debut The Sadness is one of the bleakest, angriest films I've seen in a long time, made rarer still by being carried off with obvious chops. Its focus is to unequivocally cut through the bullshit of this, our shitty timeline. The first real conversation of the film is between our hero, Jun (Berant Zhu), and his neighbour across adjoining balconies, concerning how a virus causing some doctors concern is a hoax perpetrated by big business and the media. A talk-show host in the background speaks over a virologist who warns of the potentially world-ending evil of politicizing a pandemic, and...well, you get the picture. The scariest thing about The Sadness--a very scary picture--is that it's the product of a Canadian filmmaker working in Taiwan, which confirms that Trump is a symptom not the cause of whatever the good fuck is wrong with us. In my darker moments, I like to say that we're just monkeys in clothes, and every minute we're not killing each other over protein and access to women is a miracle. The premise of The Sadness is a thought exercise in ironic magnification, one where you make the point by exaggerating the scenario slightly. The premise of The Sadness is that we're all monkeys in clothes, and imagine if we stopped pretending that we aren't.