Red Light Revolution

Red Light Revolution

Static Mass Rating: 5/5
Terracotta Distribution

Release date:January 20th, 2012
Certificate (UK): TBC
Running time: 91 minutes

Country of origin: China
Original language: Mandarin with English subtitles

Writer and director: Sam Voutas

Cast: Jun Zhao, Vivid Wang, Xiduo Jiang, Masanobu Otsuka

Sex makes the world go round. And that’s why the industry never stops booming, especially in China where they’ve secured a profitable slice since the late 90’s. With societal attitudes changing from the conservatism it once haeld to a more open approach, most of the world’s sex toys are manufactured in China and Red Light Revolution is the first film to take such a topic for its main focus.

Written and directed by Sam Voutas, it follows Shunzi (Jun Zhao), a young man in Beijing, who’s about to have a really bad day. Not only does he lose his job as a chauffeur, but he comes home to discover his wife is having an affair. After throwing him out together with his dog, Shunzi returns to his parents’ home and tries to think what to do with his life.

Red Light Revolution

The next day he runs into an old school friend who’s doing quite well. As they sit together chatting in a café, his friend opens his briefcase and shows him a sex toy. Horrified, Shunzi doesn’t quite know what to think, but when he learns how much his friend is making he is tempted by the idea of opening his own sex hop, but where and with what capital?

What then follows is an extremely funny and yet thoughtful look at how a local community comes to terms with having a sex shop around the corner from their respectable homes and businesses.

Battling blow up dolls and faulty vibrators, Shunzi and his business partner Lili (Vivid Wang) get off to a rocky start on their first day of business, but by nightfall their shop becomes a bustling hub for eager men of all ages who want to add a little spice to their bedroom antics.

Unfortunately, with an investor who demands 80% of the profits and a neighbourhood inspector who’ll confiscate anyone’s stock if they don’t have a permit, Shunzi will need all the help he can get if he’s to rise above the previous failures in his life. The question is, will the local community, who only visit him at night, be able to rise above their customs and accept that he provides a valuable service? And what will his parents think?

Red Light Revolution

Red Light Revolution, with its attentive script and likeable characters, was a surprising film. Voutas has assembled the perfect cast to bring his story to life and it’s great to see that sex industry can be looked at in both an insightful and humorous way.

His way of handling the clash of modern sexual values with Chinese traditional etiquette could have been much darker and sleazier and thankfully it was neither. You’ll leave this film with a smile and wondering why we still make such a big deal about sex.

You might also be interested in these articles:

Watching Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, a hypnotic tale of worlds colliding, I couldn’t help but think of how close we came with comet Elenin and an extinction level event.

As far as rape and revenge thrillers go, this is perhaps the campiest and most ludicrous one I’ve ever come across as Linda Blair leathers up and goes out for justice.

Year after year that spot I reserve under my Christmas tree for presents remains empty, but the cookies and milk are always gone. I’ve come to suspect Santa might be evil.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, X-Men: First Class is a stunning look back at the origins of the mutants and their opposing factions led by Professor X and Magneto.

James Redfield’s best-selling novel of the same name adapted for the screening and starring Matthew Settle, Thomas Kretschmann and Annabeth Gish.