Call Girl 92
Reviewed by YTSL
If someone had told me a year ago that I would
come to think that films about prostitutes (such as "Girls without Tomorrow"
along with this production) would be good examples of "women's dramas",
I would have been rather incredulous, to say the least. In all honesty,
this female -- who has been described as "prudish" by a few of her friends
– might not even have been too amused to hear then that there really would
be a time when she would choose to watch and actually be moved by some
of the stories contained in them as well as enjoy the sight of women very
obviously reveling in being women (albeit particular "types" of women).
Yet here this same (and still sane, I think...) individual sits today and
bids to type out a review which -- among other things -- does set out to
make these very points.
To be sure, CALL GIRL 92 is not without certain
scenes that are somewhat...arousing. That is perhaps to be expected
of a movie which stars cute Veronica Yip, the striking Cecilia Yip, the
cool beauty that is Cheung Man and the absolutely sizzling Carrie Ng; at
least one of whose physical features and persona the viewer will surely
consider to be attractive (Note to those who prefer to set their sights
on men: Vincent Wan is fairly tasty but it is true that much of the
eye candy here comes in female forms). Anyone seeking real exploitation
fare will be left dissatisfied though. As it is clearly stated in
this offering's entry on Joseph Fierro's Hong Kong Cinema site: "HK
smuthounds may note that topless cars (3) outnumber topless women (0)."
Rather, IMHO, this ensemble piece primarily appeals
or not by way of the differently themed yet all engrossing stories of the
movie's four protagonists. Along the way, CALL GIRL 92 lays waste
to two misconceptions which are often held by viewers and people:
The first of which is that good-looking actors or actresses can't act;
the second of which is that prostitutes -- like clowns -- don't really
have feelings or a sense of honor and care. The movie also gives
its viewers food for thought by way of certain looks that we see the actresses
give to the audience (by way of the camera) as well as what the characters
say (often metaphorically) to each other. Regarding the former:
Some of them bring to mind Manet's "Olympia" painting (N.B. Should one
think I'm really stretching it, it should be recalled that Olympia was
a prostitute). More re the latter: The analogy made between
whores and actresses may be particularly illuminating.
Turning to a description of the main women of
CALL GIRL 92:- Though Veronica Yip's character may appear to be the
fluffiest of the group whose lives we get given peeks of, she is shown
to -- throughout -- value friendships (including those with her flatmate,
a fellow call girl played by Elaine Wu, and a bouncer friend solidly portrayed
by Vincent Wan), especially that which she has had since childhood.
Then there is Nancy (Cecilia Yip gives a compelling performance), who --
like her mother, Suzie (Surely they must have taken these names from NANCY
Kwan, who famously played SUZIE Wong, one of THE "Oriental" female characters
in Western cinema?) -- relies on alcohol for courage, to forget and to
be momentarily happy as much as she generally distrusts males (even young
ones -- as her daughter finds out).
It is a credit to Cheung Man's acting abilities
that she starts off the movie successfully playing against type -- as an
obedient housewife whose husband takes for granted and then gets a divorce
from. The woman that Cheung Man's character turns to for help (to
find a way to earn a living and go about doing such uninhibitedly) is an
ex-schoolmate now working as a "Madam"/pimp who not only finds clients
for the call girls but also does such as invest their money for them.
The actress, Carrie Ng (who would go on a year later to win a prestigious
Golden Horse award), admirably carries out whatever her role requires with
as great a style as the confident "Mamasan" character she essays here.
In technical terms, CALL GIRL 92 is not a brilliant
piece of work. Among other things: Either it was cheaply shot or
the particular copy of the film which I viewed has degraded badly in just
seven years. It does seem too that not great editing has made for
some jerky jumps as the movie changes its focus from one woman to another.
But, if truth be told, technical virtuosity was never the paramount element
that attracted me to (the world of) Hong Kong movies. Rather, it
was "heart" and "soul"...and these, I believe this effort has quite a bit
My rating for the film: 8.