top of page

Film Review: The New King of Comedy (2019) 影評《新喜劇之王》- Extra's Chinese Dream

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

#FilmReview #TheNewKingofComedy #影評 #新喜劇之王

FILE PHOTO: A Poster of THE NEW KING OF COMEDY (2019). ©Lian Rui (Shanghai) Film Industry Co., Ltd.
FILE PHOTO: A Poster of THE NEW KING OF COMEDY (2019). ©Lian Rui (Shanghai) Film Industry Co., Ltd.

The comedy star Stephen Chow and the best genre film director of Hong Kong Herman Yau co-directed this black comedy about extras' straggles and lives in Mainland Chinese film industry.

"Chinese Dream'' is concerned here. A part-time extra actress Ru Meng (E Jingwen) has worked as an extra in Mainland China for ten years and she is now in her 30s. This reflects Jingwen's real age (1989-) in 2019.

In other words, the directors intentionally synced Jingwen and Ru Meng. This feature is her first major leading role debut. The creators' realism is proved by the tight relation and coincidence between the actress and the character.

The Russian realist theatre actor Constantin Stanislavski (1863-1938) was cited by this film. And some of his words remind us of the filmmakers' conscious efforts on acting.

''The main factor in any form of creativeness is the life of a human spirit, that of the actor and his part, their joint feelings and subconscious creation.'' - Constantin Stanislavski Read more at:

The creation of joint feelings and their subconscious creation are core values in this film. For example, Ru Meng is deceived by her boyfriend, he is turned out to be a contract boyfriend, a kind of prostitution job in China. This moment of truth on the rainy street sequence is critically important in this film.

After extra Ru Meng and her idol star Ma Ke (Wang Baoqiang)'s comical encounters and interactions in shooting of various films, their relationship changes into the opposite. One is obsolete actor Ma Ke, and the other is new star Ru Meng. She gets the big opportunity on Stephen Chow's new film audition, and she recreate the moment of truth with joint feelings subconsciously. Yes, Jingwen herself in real life actually also participated Stephen Chow's new film audition. As the result, the role and the actor's inner life is highly synchronised. This kind of attempt in a partially biographical film is unique and creatively insightful than ordinary commercial stuff in Hong Kong.

Besides these, the family relationship between Ru Meng and her father is something additional and typical among actors whose family background is not art field. Like everybody's father who wants their son or daughter has a decent job opposes the most unstable kind of job in film/TV industry, however they are always care about their son or daughters' working conditions, and when some big opportunity comes, then they eagerly and unexpectedly help their son or daughter to get the chance.

This is a recommend movie and the best of 2019. However, they depict brutal and inhuman working conditions and violence among film workers as something funny and justifiable in individualist idealism. Bearing that kind of inhuman conditions is compensated by becoming a star or not. It lacks of the unionised workers' viewpoint against inhuman and alienated working environment. Individual success cannot solve the environmental social issues in general. Just turns yourself into the opposite side, and you will and have to do the same to the worker's side.

Film cannot solve any social problem but this is actually funny and shows momentum of Mainland Chinese film industry, thus this film cannot be made in Hong Kong or other part of China where independent film industry does not exist or extras are free volunteers.


Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to the professional film writer Ryota Nakanishi as author and a link to is provided.

This film article is for educational purpose only.

bottom of page