Posted by Redgrrrl26 on:
The next revolution will not be fought with guns or tanks, but with...sex toys. Lots and lots of sex toys. Or should I say "Adult Health Products?"
That's the euphemism used in China to refer to adult, ahem, "novelties" and it is this exact discomfort which forms the premise of the delightful comedy Red Light Revolution, which had its US premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival this week.
Shinzu, a slightly chunky 30-something Beijinger, has been kicked to the curb by both life and his cuckolding wife. Jobless, spouseless and homeless, he returns home to mom and dad to try to pull himself together and find a job. A chance encounter with Jiang, a chum from school who has made his fortune peddling sex toys, shakes things up. Jiang dangles purple Rabbit Habits and the lure of easy money in Shinzu's face then offers to put his friend in touch with an investor who can help him open his own shop.
Although initially reluctant to open his own "Adult Health Products" store--there is the matter of saving "face" after all--Shinzu is finally won over by the opportunity to make some serious scratch. That'll show his faithless wife!
Of course things don't go smoothly. Shinzu finds it's an uphill battle as he deals with a crazy investor-supplier, combats his father's shame over his new profession, and fights with Chinese bureaucracy so he can get the all-important license to sell his "Adult Health Products" legally. (Yes, it's true. The sale of sex toys was illegal in China until the 90's. People who want to sell them now may do so, but only with a special permit, in spite of the fact that it's a booming industry.)
Seriously, what's a Chinese brother got to do to earn a living around here?
I won't spoil the ending, not that you probably can't figure it out. This is a frothy, fun comedy after all and not Chekhov's Three Sisters. But the ending is beside the point. It's the journey there that is so much fun. You haven't lived until you've seen a grown Chinese man stick a purple rubber phallus to his forehead and wave it around like it's a unicorn horn. The story drags a little bit in a few spots but for the most part zips along for its 91 minute run time. The translated dialogue by writer-director Sam Voutas is fresh and funny and delivered by a strong ensemble cast.
At the moment, Red Light Revolution does not have a distribution deal and has not been screened in its native China. Apparently it's ok in China to make a movie about an adult shop, you just can't show the toys, as Mr. Voutas and producer Melanie Ansley related in a Q&A session after the film. So for now, the only place to see it is at the Film Festival.
Red Light Revolution will be getting it on with audiences two more times this week:
Friday, February 4th at 10pm at Metro 4
Saturday, February 5th at 8am at Metro 4