Money Has Four Legs has a premise often seen at film festivals for some reason. The Burmese movie is a commentary and homage to cinema, in this case, the films of Myanmar. Wai Bhone is a young film director. He has received the funding to reshoot a classic film, but keeps coming up against obstacles. The censors are cutting his film to shreds, his actors are not particularly interested, and on top of everything else, his personal life is in chaos.
Director Maung Sun has managed to pull off the difficult trick of making a movie that is universally funny while making pointed and specific social commentary. Money Has Four Legs accomplishes this by mixing recognizable comedy (sex jokes and slapstick, for example) while also having the characters talk about the state of the country. Everything is weaved effortlessly into the movie.
Helping matters is the pacing of Money Has Four Legs. (It is fair to say that some may see it as a detriment.) The plot never lingers on any one thing for too long. While this enables the script to get all of its ideas in, it also means that some ideas are not as developed quite as much as they should be. There is little arguing that the film flows smoothly between scenes.
Though it is flawed, the film works so well thanks to the excellent writing. Through the various humor and hardships, there is always one constant. Money Has Four Legs is about a person’s struggle to keep their head above water. In this case, the setting is the film industry and there is definitely a strong message about the government. But anyone who watches will be able to easily relate to the story.
The New York Asian Film Festival takes place from August 6 – August 22. Screenings are live and online.
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