A plain black screen warns in white typeface that the following characters and occurrences are fictional. This is followed by two subsequent warnings that nothing within this feature bears resemblance to real events. The disclaimer is in place for a reason, and Cinetalk would like to express its own. Discretion is definitely advised. This will not sit well with most audiences, but for those who can handle gratuitous gore and raunchy violence, there is some form of payoff.
To generalize, Le Binh Giang’s KFC is a splatter film about cannibalism, which is neither excused nor elaborated in terms of the participants’ motivation. If we put that aside for a moment, what we have is a tale about a very dysfunctional family, possibly due to generations of violence. The timeline jumps around. In consequence, it manages to confuse the viewer about which characters are which. The core protagonists are shown as children and young adults, but the link between the two is not always clear. The confusing time hops can be explained as Le wanting to blur past, present and future.
This hybrid (partly chosen, party blood) family has had it rough. Their heinous acts may be the result of a twisted upbringing, or they may have just been born bad. Though the viewer is dragged through scenes of necrophilia, rape and premeditated murder, there is always an underlying current of humor. Potshots at the corporate food industry are delivered mostly via an obese child who grows up to be an obese adult. The KFC-obsessed lad has some amusing banter about salad being gross. There are also nods to slasher flick sound effects, with overly squishy audio, and a hint of what occidental audiences may have grown to expect from Asian cinema. It would not be surprising if someone said that director Le was a fan of Old Boy (Park Chan-Wook), and Koroshiya Ichi (Takashi Miike). Specifying more than that would ruin the punch.
KFC prevented Le’s film school graduation, because it was considered too violent. After instead working on a few shorts, finally the 2016 version of the older film was released. Not a bad first feature length film by any means (it even has some interesting CG/action one wouldn’t expect from a lower budget film). It’s shot in moody, murky hues, and incorporates some deftly executed slo-mo, sped-up and bullet time sequences. But again, we must remind that KFC is politically incorrect, and not for the faint of heart.
Festival screening: Cinema du Parc, October 10th, 2017.