Helmer Sam Voutas hopes his new movie, “Red Light Revolution,” a comedy about an out-of-work Beijing taxi driver who opens his own sex shop, passes the censor because he sees his pic as a reflection of the rapid pace of change in contemporary China.
The low-budget laffer is in Mandarin Chinese and features an all-Chinese cast, except for a gangster played by Japanese thesp Masanobu Otsuka and a porn mogul played by Voutas himself. And an impressive range of marital aids.
Getting this kind of movie onto the bigscreen here, and not just on the film fest circuit, is a real challenge for filmmakers as the government pushes its “harmonious society” message.
China under Chairman Mao was famously prudish on matters sexual, but the opening up of society has led to an explosion in the sex industry.
“We’re still in the process of trying to get approval and it would be a great bonus to get a mainland Chinese release,” says Voutas, an Australian reared in Beijing. He made the movie with his partner-producer Melanie Ansley, a half-Chinese Canadian brought up in Shanghai.
If not, the aim is to pick up revenues elsewhere in the region, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand. Also, most Chinese auds watch movies on pirate DVD, so revenue from China is not essential.
“Revolution” will screen at the Sao Paolo film fest, which may help with the filmmakers’ efforts to get the film screened in China by convincing a Chinese distrib to get involved.
Although filled with lively language, the film features no nude scenes — instead, a chaste inter-title screen appears at particularly risque moments with the message “This Shot Has Been Deleted.”