Now repeat after me….
“Tula” means thank you, “heya” means hello, and “peta” means sorry.
Thankfully “Ok” and “ya” are still easily identifiable in the new feature Nude Tuesday.
The entire NZ independent film is incomprehensible.
All the cast, protagonists, supporting characters, extras and even the children, speak the entire play in a nonsensical imaginary language.
But here’s the twist. The subtitles are written by different comedians, depending on which version you watch: Celia Pacquola (Rosehaven) & Ronny Chieng (Ronny Chieng: International student), or the British Julia Davis (Night night). And the plans may not stop there, with talk of other versions to be released. It’s a boldly creative concept, and the rewards are many if you go ahead with the journey.
The story centers on Bruno (Damon Herriman) and Laura (Jackie van Beek), a middle-aged couple in the throes of their marriage who are sent to a remote couples retreat to rekindle a spark. They meet an existentialist guru Bjorg Rassmussen (Jemaine Clement) who takes them on a crazy ride of free love, tribal rituals, emotional animals and polyamorous intimacy. Nine complete strangers it has never been like this.
Bruno and Laura are a little out of their depth, or generation, but they go with the flow…
It goes without saying that not everything goes as planned.
The cast’s commitment to this wildly original concept is undeniable. The way everyone so tastefully improvised their dialogue is quite amazing, even the signs are in jibberish, reminiscent of something distinctly Nordic.
Damon Herriman, once again displaying his underrated versatility, is hilarious as the long-suffering Bruno, while Jackie van Beek (who co-wrote with director Armagan Ballantyne) gives a liberating performance as Laura. Jemaine Clement is a hoot as the guru who vainly inspires his clan with hints of a Wizard of Oz deed…
As if bravery wasn’t enough, yes, the cast goes full frontal by the end of the film. Some things you can’t not see!
The two subtitle scripts both follow the same fundamentals of action – it’s not as if the stories veer off in entirely different directions. Both are very funny, but Julia Davis’s is decidedly rougher, with a high proportion of genital and sexual jokes.
This concept is so unique that the execution becomes just as fun as the content.
Sit and laugh and read, this kiwi extravaganza. And then watch it again with new jokes. Bonuses.
Nude Tuesday airs Thursdays on Stan.