SARA (雏妓) is a Hong Kong film directed by Herman Yau, starring Charlene Choi and Simon Yam as leads. Both Yam and Choi won the Best Actor/ Actress Award respectively for their roles in SARA at the recent Macau International Movie Festival.
I was drawn to the film to check out the onscreen chemistry between Choi and Yam. The former is known for her clean-cut girl-next-door image while the latter had a good run starring in many Hong Kong Cat 3 (softporn) films in his earlier acting career. They did not disappoint and definitely deserve their acting awards.
Meeting with her past gave her the strength to confront her own demons.
Yuling/Sara (Charlene Choi) has lost hope: her project is rejected by her boss, her estranged mother dies, and her boyfriend dumps her by text message. She takes out all of her savings and goes to Thailand to live out her life in a drunken stupor.
As her money runs out, Yuling/Sara checks into a hotel where she intends to hang herself. Just as Yuling is about to take her own life, she meets a Thai child prostitute who would change her desire to end her life.
Somehow, the urge to rescue this prostitute gives Yuling/Sara newfound life and energy. As she gets to know the child prostitute and during the dangerous rescue process, Yuling/Sara confronts her dark past.
At this point, I shun give away too much of the storyline or it will kill the enjoyment of the film. It is clear that Sara got involved with an older man played by Yam and they had an intimate bodily relationship.
Yam is very convincing as an ordinary man who gave in to temptations while Choi excelled in a role which not many would have thought she could fit into.
Overall, I quite enjoyed the film and there are several thought-provoking moments. I found the bits on Chiang Mai and the sex trade in Thailand a distraction from the main storyline and the film might have moved along more fluidly without it. Otherwise, the two leads were excellent and the storyline was captivating.
The film gets thumbs up from me as it managed to deal with a difficult, controversial subject with respect and yet kept it entertaining.
SARA (雏妓) will open in Singapore cinemas from 26 March. Go catch it!