2020 Udine Far East Film Festival, 2020 Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, 2020 New York Asian Film Festival
Nikki Hsieh, Austin Lin
Activator Marketing Company
Intensely obsessive-compulsive and highly phobic of germs as well, Po-Ching lives a very precisely scheduled life, taking every precaution and leaving his apartment as rarely as he can. He’s alarmed when the grocery he habitually visits is closed, forcing a change in routine. As a result, though, he encounters Chen Ching, a young woman whose condition is comparable to his own. With an immense degree of awkwardness and anxiety, the two are drawn to each other. They complement each other professionally, match each other’s quirks and characteristics, challenge each other to get the most out of life. Things seem as perfect as an imperfect pair could hope for, but then something to dismay them occurs – falling in love has neutralized Po-Ching’s OCD, the very thing that binds them to one another.
Taiwan’s Liao Ming-Yi didn’t set out to make a romantic comedy intensely relevant to the pandemic moment, but here it is and we’re lucky to have it. Shot on an iPhone, his debut feature looks amazing, benefitting from inspired design and art direction, with great care applied to every aspect. At the heart of the matter are the performances by Austin Lin and Nikki Hsieh (both Golden Horse Award winners!) as the two sympathetic misfits, all the stronger as the story shifts from cute laughs to a more dramatic consideration of love’s impermanence. If you don’t have a clinical aversion to quirky rom-coms, then let Fantasia prescribe IWEIRDO for what ails you! – Rupert Bottenberg
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