Last night I went over to Kento’s Live House , a really nice venue nearby my house, to go check out a screening of Australian director,Sam Voutas’, Red Light Revolution. (Mandarin audio with English subtitles)
The movie is a hilarious take on an out of luck former Beijing cab-driver trying to open a sex shop to make some cash. His wife has just left him for another guy , he has lost his house , his cab was re-possessed , and he is penniless. He bumps into a former schoolmate of his who made some cash off peddling sex toys and this leads to a meeting with a crazy Japanese investor. He along with his new-found female friend open a shop in the middle of a conservative hutong neighborhood. Hijinks ensue as the neighborhood comes out at night to visit the store. I don’t want to give anymore anyway.
Red Light Revolutions had me laughing pretty much the entire way through (except for some serious parts where you aren’t supposed to). Everything from the witty banter between the characters , to the gentle making fun of Chinese social issues (one scene dealt with bureaucracy and the characters had to fill out a form to gain access to the form for a business license), to the slapstick with the toys (c’mon it’s too hard not to!) , to the characters themselves (The Community Patrol Leader , and geeky Virgin Chen are my favorites) , are all spot on.
Even though the film was directed by a foreigner it doesn’t feel like it and offers a glimpse into Beijing life. The directors and producers are both long time residents of Beijing and worked closely with the Chinese cast and crew to ensure an authentic experience.
The director , producer , and the main female star were on hand to host a Q&A after the film and they gave us some great insight into the filming process. They worked closely with the actors and crew to make an authentic dialogue. Obviously Chinese isn’t the directors native language (although he can speak it quite well) so he gave the actors reign to make a more natural script , and also the film crew would sometimes stop and say ” no. no, not that way , try it like this instead”.
They also provided interesting insights into the process of marketing and releasing the movie. They had tried for over two years to gain access to movie theaters in China but were rejected by the government censors. They(censors) just didn’t understand the point of the movie . They were flat-out told that this wasn’t a comedy and why is the movie being held in a sex shop , maybe they could perhaps host it in a tea shop? The government rejection leading to the small film screenings and the movie doing the foreign indie film rounds (Where they have won quite a few awards). The movie should be available for purchase on DVD and maybe iTunes after January.
If you are in Shanghai there is still time to catch two other movie screenings , Friday Nov. 11 & Sunday Nov. 13. Check out this link for more details http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/event/Film-Film_Screenings/4706/Red-Light-Revolution-screening-weekend.html .
Here is a link for the trailer
As an extra bonus the first 50 to 100 people will receive (received in my case) a free giftbag with some sexy lotion and a fun little toy. Enjoy!