Monday, August 3, 2009

Review : True Women For Sale

True Women For Sale (HK 2008)

True Women For Sale is one of those very HK films that reveals in the people and culture of the SAR that you either love or find totally alien. I fall into the former category and loved this collection of misfit/normal HK characters struggling in their different ways to make it in the world.

You have Prudence Lau, in a rare film outing, as an aging drug addict prostitute with terrible teeth. Anthony Wong as an insurance salesman who is always looking for a new client even if his working class clients are not exactly that regular with payment of their premiums. Race Wong plays a mainland immigrant made pregnant by a now dead HK man who is continually demanding her rights and in a very annoying squeeky manner too (no doubt intentionally to amuse the HK audience).

The film, directed wonderfully by Herman Yau, does not have a plot as such. It is more like a set of storylines based around the various characters which sometimes intermingle and portray a HK unsure of it's reunion with the mainland and under pressure from its larger, more virile and in some ways quite alien neighbour. Thus Anthony Wong considers selling insurance on the mainland but is warned the market is very different and the HK prostitutes face competition from younger and cheaper women from the mainland.

Fairly low budget but the film does not suffer for that because of the style and content. The film is full of rough HK humour but it does not detract from the drama and social comment, the humour is used in a very natural way. One criticism may be it's more like a truncated soap than a movie but the story reaches a (kind of) conclusion in the end and is highly recommend for those who love HK and want a bit more than bland action thrillers which are set in HK but could basically be anywhere.
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