Random Thoughts on Mad World (2016)
Mad World (2016) 一念無明
Dir. Wong Chun
Mad World is the last film I saw in 2017. As I was watching it, I thought of a quote from the animated feature of The Little Prince (2015) – ‘Growing up is not the problem. Forgetting is.’ Interestingly, the film also makes a direct reference to the original Little Prince, quoting ‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’
Growing up, we are inevitably subject to social conditioning in which society is imposing symbolic violence on us. The film suggests how institutions, stereotypes and prejudices blind us to ‘what is essential’. As Wong Chun said in the post-screening talk, the kid represents an individual that has not yet been institutionalised. He regards Tung (Shawn Yue) as a good man purely because he SEES he is good. Touching on institutions, how can we not talk about Michel Foucault? His book Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason offers an insight into the historical evolution of madness under the influence of powerful social structures. Insanity is, at the end of the day, a social construct. Just look at Van Gogh.