Red Light Revolution – CUEAFS Critical Reflection

Red Light Revolution, the 2010 comedy-drama written and directed by Sam Voutas was a shock to say the least. Not because of the provocative plot but because of the pure amount of hysterical, relatable content. The documentary style beginning with what appeared to be a straight-on interview with who we later found out to be the main character, Shunzi, elicited a boring atmosphere for approximately two seconds. Within the following seconds we were introduced to the sexual content portrayed throughout this film and the incredibly relatable main character, all through the use of blunt, factual language. It was the subject that caught mine, and most of the viewer’s attention: “sex.”

By this, I do not mean that the entire film was about some form of East-Asian pornography, but it was simply following a story of a “luckless Beijinger” going through hard times and loosing face by opening a sex-toy shop in what we all know as a very conservative culture.

It was, however, this bluntness of topic that reeled me in. From the outset the audience knew roughly what the main subject of the film would be, which, during this day and age, actually appeals to the younger audience. Throughout the rest of the film, the audience easily empathizes with the funny, almost immature Shunzi and Lili as they portray the exact same behavior that would be shown by the majority of the audience in that very situation. Of course, the audiences feelings were enhanced by the superb acting of both Jun Zhao (Shunzi) and Vivid Wang (Lili) as they managed to capture this awkward experience perfectly.

Another main thing that supposedly captured the western audience was something that I could not help but notice, in a rather surprised way. This was the somewhat westernized lifestyle and language used throughout this East-Asian film. This was also enhanced by the type of sexual humour used within this film that is very popular in large Hollywood productions that are being released at the moment.

Towards the end of the film, after witnessing what I thought was hilarious antics and unconventional situations, I couldn’t help but have a sudden idea: does the East-Asian culture find this film as funny as I do? I had been in hysterics at what the East would see as controversial behavior and ended up questioning whether this film had deliberately been made like this to increase the Western acknowledgement.

Overall, I found this incredibly controversial, and in some cases offensive, comedy really enjoyable. Its relatable content has made it a must-see for a number of cultures and it has heightened the standard of East-Asian films that I will want to see in the future. Sam Voutas has successfully brought Hollywood to the east, but are they ready for it?


Twitter: Sam Voutas has successfully bought Hollywood to the east in his film Red Light Revolution. But are they ready for it? A must-see!