Shunzi, like many men of his generation, is a hard worker who simply can't afford to provide the type of life his spouse desires. When he is fired from his cab company, his wife promptly leaves him and throws him out of the house he bought her. With nowhere else to go, Shunzi decides to step behind China's new "red curtain" and secretly open an adult shop. His supplier turns out to be a gangster who will break his legs if he doesn't deliver cash each week and when the neighbourhood watch discovers that Shunzi has been operating without a permit, Shunzi faces the threat of losing everything. Shunzi and his neighbours have a choice: accept defeat, or fight for the shop that has unexpectedly united the community.
Director Sam Voutas, a Greek who was born in Australia but lives in Beijing, references The Full Monty's economic backdrop and the financial toils of the everyday man, and says of them, "Our film aims to strike a universal chord in terms of the struggles to get by with one's head held high in tough economic times."
There is, it turns out, a factual base for the movie's premise, as Beijing possibly has more sex shops per square kilometre than anywhere on Earth. Colour me genuinely surprised. Director Voutas says: "Red Light Revolution offers, I hope, an entertaining wake-up call. China is traditional, yes – but it's also a nation that is embracing capitalism like it's going out of style, overhauling virtually every industry and activity. In my neighbourhood alone, there are three adult stores within a block of me. Business, it seems, is booming."
Red Light Revolution features a cast of rising Asian actors, including Zhao Jun, Vivid Wang, Jiang Xiduo, Masanobu Otsuka (City of Life and Death, TiananMen), Tess Liu (Karate Kid) Tian Huimin (Mao's Last Dancer), and Ji Qing (Gasp).
The press release even provides some interesting facts about China's sex shop industry. In 1996 there was just one sex shop in Beijing. By 2010 there were over 2,000. 70% of the world's sex toys are made in China, and there are more than 10,000 sex toy companies based there. And approximate 1.3 trillion condoms are made in China each year. There number of films made about Chinese sex shops? One. This one, as it happens.
Red Light Revolution will be released on UK DVD on 13th February 2012 by Terracotta Distribution at the RRP of £14.99.
The disc will have the following extra features:
- Directors introduction;
- Deleted scenes;
- Audience Q&A's at Terracotta Festival & Wuhan Film Club;
- 'Making of' featurette;
- Art Auction featurette.