Heavy Craving – Film Review

Heavy Craving hits home with its warm colours and nuanced message. A film on the struggles of a plus sized woman in Asia, it does not shy away from the hard hitting realities of society. In an age of body positivity reflected in happy endings, Heavy Craving prefers to conclude on a hopeful but inconclusive note.

Jiang Ying Juan is a plus sized woman living in Taiwan. That is the first thing we know about her, as she unabashedly takes home dozens of store bought pudding from the supermarket. The association is immediate, with disdainful glances and hanging stares from passers-by. Throughout the film she is shamed by strangers and family alike for her appearance, but the bouts of anger and upset are not followed by immediate training montages where she tries to lose weight. She signs up for a weight loss programme at her mother’s insistence but does not seem motivated. However, the programme’s message “to be a better version of yourself” slowly chips away at her.

Her views on being a social outcast are cleverly shown through her interactions with a young crossdresser Xiao Yu. A perfect student with a secret, Ying Juan encourages him to be himself, regardless of what everyone thinks. This is a clever parallel to highlight her own outlook: she sees nothing wrong with being different.

While lessons were learnt, Ying Juan’s place in society does not shift. She remains plus sized and while content, society’s endless judgement will be hard to ignore. Her boyfriend, Wu, still has an eating disorder. While she leaves Xiao Yu a reminder to be unapologetically himself, his parents still disagree with his choices and will continue to put a stop to them. Life doesn’t really get any easier.

So what marked the turning point of the film? The character shift was displayed in a cinematographically beautiful but arguably over the top hallucinated fight of the warring desires of being slim and being herself. She physically defeats the idea that a better version of herself would be being slim, and decides that she should not be content with being a plus size woman, but with being Jiang Ying Juan.

It is a rather cliched messaging of loving yourself, but it is a realisation hard to come by to many plus sizes people in Asia. Being overweight is seen as simply not putting in the effort. The dramatic loss of taste and thus Ying Juan’s dreams of being a chef highlight that putting in the effort comes at a cost that is harder to bear.

The attempts at natural banter at times may come off forced, especially those between Ying Juan and Wu, but it does contribute to the silly awkwardness between the two that is in line with Ying Juan’s personality. I loved that Ying Juan was portrayed from the get go as playful and bubbly while having insecurities, so major kudos to actress Tsai Jia-Yin.

Heavy Craving, perhaps while not being a fresh take on body positivity , leaves me feeling satisfied.

Contributed by:

Teo Shuen

加纳电影节华语影片
《大饿》简介
这是胖妞江映娟的减重故事!

影片以商业资讯口号“完美你的完美”开场!何谓完美?你觉得自己完美 吗?你会不断追求完美吗?你可曾因“不完美”而不被他人接受,并面临 身份认同危机,甚至为此而改变自己吗?……

为了不再忍受旁人异样的眼光,受到不平等的待遇和伤害,原 本体重 105 公斤,生活悠然自在的女主角江映娟终于接受母 亲为她准备的生日 礼物:一个减重课程。

肥胖有错吗?诚如江映娟在影片中呐喊:我到底招惹了谁 呀?!影片通 过她的遭遇,带出旁人对肥胖者的歧视和厌恶, 以及加上的标签。

这些有意无意或下意识表露出来的歧视来自家庭、职场和社会。批判者通 过言语或肢体语言霸凌肥胖者。例如:胖子身上的汗臭味让人不屑、公车 上让位却因为站着更占位而被人嫌弃、即使被非礼也无人相信,因为“谁 会看上胖子”。不仅如此,肥胖者的工作能力差,难以寻得好差事。更有 甚者,将肥 胖和无自制力挂上等号。

这样的待遇,即使亲如家人也不例外,虽然是在母亲开办的幼儿园担任厨 师,江映娟的母亲总不让她设计菜单,因为觉得没有说服力, “你把自 己吃成这样,谁敢把菜单交给你?”,菜单上甚至不敢 采用映娟的照片 而以卡通人物取代。

由于减重课程成效不大,映娟选择进行缩胃手术却因此丧失了味觉,为厨 师而言,这是莫大的打击,以致她借酒醉而将减重 中心砸个粉碎!也把 一切努力和希望砸个粉碎,付诸流水,所 幸到了最后,映娟终有所领 悟!

影片另两个关键人物,是充满阳光的快递员小吴和幼儿园的模范生小宇。 小吴是减重成功的胖子,在江映娟遭非礼却百口莫辩时,挺身解围而成为 好友,他以“改变不了世界,就改变自己”来鼓励映娟。

小宇是爱穿女装的小男生,映娟知道他的秘密后,帮助他完成愿望。他们 三人的“条件”与世俗标准不符,是“不完美”的代表人物。

小吴和小宇同时诠释剧中人物的阳光和阴暗面。小吴在人前总是给予正能 量,人后却清楚知道社会的犀利眼光,心存自卑,害怕回到被欺负的日 子。小宇顶着模范生的光环下有个不为人知的性别倾向。 映娟暗中安排 小宇在表演会上变装演出,让小宇母亲激动不 已。从她对映娟的吼叫; “你知道我花多少钱给他看医生 吗?”、“你可以为他的未来负责 吗?”、“难道你不知道他将来会活得很辛苦吗?……隐喻着若是“不完 美”不被完美化,小宇的未来,将如同肥胖者所受到的歧视一样,不被批 判者所接受。尽管点到即止,却也一针见血,引发观众的省思。

影片末了,两辆汽车奔驰路上,车上,映娟、小吴和小宇三人 脸上展现 笑容,似乎准备好迎接未来的信心!而镜头也转向幼 儿园如常的上课情 形、减重中心传来激励讲师在课堂上同样的 内容桥段,一样于人洗脑的 宣传口号:“完美你的完美” …… 这一切熟悉的情景在在显示了一切都 在重复发生, 映娟、小 吴和小宇的故事一直重复上演!

《大饿》虽以台湾社会为背景,但题材也是现今各地社会普遍可见的现 象,它引发的省思不止是肥胖问题,当中对于“饿”的理 解也可延伸 到,为迎合世俗眼光,希望改变本身的“不完美”而被他人接纳的渴望。

我们身边,甚或自己,也许都带有“江映娟”的影子,虽然“大饿”的事 物不尽相同,完美“不完美”的目标却是一致。

演员蔡嘉茵,也就是故事的主人翁江映娟,被媒体问及会如何推荐《大
饿》这部影片时说:“只要有不被接受过的人,都适合观看这部影片!”
相信有此经历的人不少!

重点是,只要我们一天无法接纳自己,认同自己,对自己没有信心,就无 法爱自己。那么,我们就会被外界贴上的有色标签所窒息而永远无法自 由!

文:黑橄榄

Contributed by:

Agnes Eu

Chief Executive, Home Team NS