A Revolution in Red

Less than 50 years ago, Beijing had one sex shop. Today, the city boasts more than 2,000 shops, and more than 70 per cent of the world’s sex toys are manufacturered in China. With a population of more than one billion, the Chinese “have more sex than any other people in the world”, making the business of sex is a good one, at least that’s what Shunzi (Jun Zhao) is hoping.

Red Light Revolution (2010) tells the story of a down-and-out cab driver who can’t seem to sort his life out. After losing his job and his wife – who leaves him for another man and kicks him out of their apartment – Shunzi is forced to move in with his parents who, despite their advancing age, lead an active sex life. When Shunzi runs into an old classmate, Jiang  (Xiduo Jiang), Jiang  shares the secret of his success as an accomplished event planner – sex toys. In order to accrue startup capital, Jiang started his business selling a full range of toys and accessories, and is famous as the inventor of the “Karaoke Dildo”. Believing that his might be Shunzi’s ticket out off his parent’s couch and back into his wife’s arms, Jiang introduces Shunzi to Iggy (Masanobu Otsuka), a high-powered Japanese investor who makes much of his living shifting XXX stock through Chinese vendors.

Under the threat of failure – and broken kneecaps – Shunzi opens a small shop with his coworker, Lili (Vivid Wang), and together, the two newcomers blindly attempt to make a living while maintaining some modicum of dignity. While things start off slowly, Shunzi soon learns that, as with most things considered illicit, the purchase of marital aids are best left to the cover of darkness. But when the neighborhood watch threatens to close down Shunzi and Lili’s business, Shunzi’s mother and father are forced to share the secret of their passion.

This endearing film is filled with humor, expertly depicting Shunzi’s awkward journey that’s beautifully-acted by the entire cast. Don’t miss the Hump Night showing of Red Light Revolution, Wednesday, September 28 at 9:15pm at the Plaza Theatre, with an encore screening Sunday, October 2 at 9:30pm at the Globe Cinema.

~Shannon McClennan
@shannoetry

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