Dec 04, 2008|
Category IIB. Herman Yau likes to be provocative. His “The Untold Story” (1993), adapted from the true story of a Macanese murderer who used human flesh to make cha xiu bao, still gives people the chills. More recently he’s turned to the issue of prostitution to get up people’s sleeves.
Last year’s successful “Whispers and Moans” was a serious take on nightclub call girls in Tsim Sha Tsui. Now Yau returns with “True Women for Sale,” a film about hookers in Sham Shui Po, more lighthearted and cheeky than his previous effort, if also a bit clichéd.
The story revolves around two women: Chung Chung (Prudence Lau), a slightly slow street hooker with a drug addiction and a special someone on her mind; and Lin Fa (Race Wong, from pop group 2R), a young, pregnant mainland mother with twins, struggling to live as a “decent” woman after her Hong Kong husband’s death in a construction accident.
While Yau could have gone in-depth into some very complex real-life tragedies here, he instead decides to make the subject more approachable through comedy and sappy moments, throwing in unnecessary characters who almost seem plucked from mediocre local TV dramas. The first half of the film in particular drags on too long with such redundancies, which distract from the main topic. It’s only near the end that the film’s talking points really appear and one realizes there’s an actual point to be made. Still, Race Wong delivers her best performance to date here (the pop singer shows great acting potential; she should consider a career change), and Lau puts in plenty of effort, while Anthony Wong is as good as always. And kudos to Yau for at least taking on serious topics, while most in the film industry are probably busy cooking up another overblown ancient Chinese war flick as you read this.