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Ruby Star is a runaway teenage mom facing many problems: a baby, no family and no job. When all else fails, she turns to prostitution in the streets of Hollywood and soon discovers a hierarchy of pimps and hookers who rule with iron fist and won't allow her to work as an independent. After a series of brutal lessons in both the legitimate and illegitimate world, Ruby reluctantly agrees to a strictly business arrangement with Carla, a thirty year old black prostitute who takes her under her wing, and Easy, her charismatic but gambling white pimp. This arrangement however undermines Easy's standing in the pimp community and triggers a series of dramatic ripples and upheavals. A revealing, heartfelt portrait of life in the underbelly of America where racism still flourishes, 'welfare' is a dirty word to those who need it most, and monetary gain the cold priority, be it Ruby's fruitless consult with the Women's Vocational Institute, or the economics of pimping. Shot on Hollywood boulevard... Written by
"Scarred" is an impressive first feature with a bold visual palette and startling moments of power and realism, about a teenage girl who turns to prostitution to support her baby. Shot on Hollywood Blvd. by cinematographer Michael Miner (who co-wrote Robocop), it captures a stylish street noir look reminiscent of Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy. Jennifer Mayo is remarkably poised and natural as Ruby, the naive, feisty teenage lead. Jackie Berryman brings warmth, humor and solidarity to the mix as supporting lead. David Dean has a few good scenes. The story navigates through a lurid demi-monde of pimps and degenerates, both frightful and hilarious. (the blue movie-making Stars Wars send up scene and the crazed Phil Spector like john scene stick to mind).The pimp barber shop scene is a must see, and the surprise birthday scene is laugh out loud funny. But what prevails is a poignant core of truth in Rose-Marie Turko's writing and directing. It's an un-romanticized look at prostitution and the hardships of a disowned teenage mom forced to fend for herself in the underbelly of America where welfare is a dirty word even to those who need it the most. The scene where Ruby goes to see her one year old baby and the baby does not recognize her is heartbreaking. It is easy to see the two strains the movie was torn into. It started as a student film, won a grant from AFI and the National Endowment for the Arts and grew up into a feature. A distributor put up finishing funds and blew the film up to 35mm, but demanded that a quota of exploitation scenes be added. Turko did her best, adding mordant humor to those scenes. Repo Man's Alex Cox served as assistant director and has a couple of cameos. The film features an excellent, driving rock score, including The Plugz, who scored much of Repo Man. A classic piece of Hollywood Blvd. history with a surprising amount of visual pizazz and narrative talent for a micro budget film. I saw the film on the big screen when it was theatrically released and was blown away; do not be fooled by the blurry, bootleg DVD pirated from a bad VHS. Hopefully a legitimate letter box HD DVD that shows the film as it was supposed to be seen will be released.
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