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Pleasure Factory (Kuaile Gongchang) | Review

Seekers and Providers: There is no joy in ‘Pleasure’.

There are many parts in this world where humans share the same indignities as farm animals. In a small segment of Singapore, people are numbered, tagged, pointed at and then sold for wallet-thin amounts of dollars. Filmmaker Ekachai Uekrongtham’s frivolously condemns this transaction, delivering a wholly irrelevant commentary on those who are part of this sex trade economy in Singapore’s red light district. The Thai director who explored transgender issues in his celebrated Beautiful Boxer is ill-equipped in discussing the social ills that exist in this section of town. Amateurish in design, atrocious to look at, Pleasure Factory is a baffling selection among Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section might make a great teaching aid tool for safer-sex campaigns but is not worthy of a theatrical release.

Judging by the lack of attention to the aesthetic composition, sound and image quality, and the directing of his actors, all Uekrongtham provides us with is a mostly romanticized vision of what occurs in seedy section of town. Desperately trying to find a subject worth examining, the three narrative layout is maladroitly assembled, one portion we view a mother who makes a terrible judgment call making her child follow in her footsteps and this is bookmarked by a virgin who thinks he finds love with a prostitute of his liking. Frontal nudity is mixed with tragedy and comedy, but where this cheap eau de toilette knockoff fails greatly is in accessing the hundreds of damaged souls that are the make-up of these closed doors. Uekrongtham makes no attempts in adjusting the lenses of his looking glass into this grim underworld, and therefore has nothing to say about it.

May 23rd, 2007 – Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard)

Runtime: 88 Min

Rating 0 stars

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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