A painfully shy noodle-shop owner and a prostitute have a chance encounter when destiny arrives in the form of a car accident.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Joe Ng ...
Mee Pok Man
...
Bunny
...
Mike Kor
David Brazil ...
Jonathan Reese
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George Chua
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Storyline

A painfully shy noodle-shop owner and a prostitute have a chance encounter when destiny arrives in the form of a car accident.

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Drama | Romance

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24 November 1996 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Торговец лапшой  »

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1.66 : 1
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Eric Khoo's debut feature film, after winning a number of awards for a number of short films at various festivals. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Movie That Never Got a Fair Chance
15 February 2009 | by (Stockholm, Sweden) – See all my reviews

We are in the red light district in Singapore, with a group of prostitutes that are "owned" by a criminal gang. Before the girls start their night work they will usually gather at the fish noodle restaurant owned by the Mee Pok man. He is secretly in love with Bunny, but had never dared to talk to her. She is the most beautiful and also the one who draws in most money to the gang.

Before I shall tell how they finally meet, I cannot avoid some polemics, because the erroneous memory of an external reviewer has influenced other people's perception of the plot in more than one way. This reviewer states that "Bunny is beaten and thrown out of a car", evidently just outside the fish noodle restaurant. – However, who could have beaten her and thrown her out of a car? As I understand the movie, the gang and not the girls find all the customers, so a customer could hardly have done it. Could it be the gang? A beautiful prostitute is a valuable asset. It would be against the interest of the gang just to throw the girl out without further ado. And if the intention is to punish a girl, it is easy to inflict pain in such a way that her capacity as a prostitute will not be impaired. One of the gangsters actually says that all their girls should be spanked once a week.

Bunny hopes intensively to get away from her profession. All her "colleagues" know that she is dreaming about some foreign tourist who would take her to his homeland. Indeed, she asks some of her customers for such help, but with no success.

We will never see the accident, but it cannot be doubted that a car bumped into Bunny just outside the restaurant, shortly after it had closed for the night. Mee Pok man finds her and takes her to his apartment. His first thought it to call a doctor or an ambulance. But he immediately realises that then he will lose her. So he cuts the telephone instead.

To Bunny it is a great and touching surprise that a man could care for her without immediately thinking of sex. It is quite possible that she would eventually have recovered from his loving care.

Bunny had disappeared without a trace, and the gangsters are searching everywhere for her. They search the home of her mother and younger brother. They thoroughly beat up an English customer, who was never interested in anything more than performing sex and taking photos.

At last they come to Mee Pok man. If they had beaten Bunny up and had thrown her out of a car just outside this restaurant, this would have been the first place to turn to.

Here is also one of those scenes which make me conclude that Mee Pok man was not merely very shy, but mentally retarded. If he had not been so, he would have realised that the gangsters had no reason to suspect him of having anything to do with the disappearance of the girl. But he might have seen some other guest talking to her.

There was no sensible reason for him to shout a 12-letter-word (which IMDb would censor) against the gangsters. So they beat him up much more thoroughly than the Englishman. But they definitely do not do it in order to have him talk.

But beating him up, almost until he fainted, would have serious consequences. When he comes home he sleeps with Bunny for the first time. Of course, he had always longed to sleep with her. But as far as I can see, the reason why he really does it now, is for consoling himself after the beating.

But Bunny had not improved sufficiently for sexual intercourse. Her face reveals her pain, but her profession had probably taught her not to say stop.

The sex act is presented in grandiose symbolism – a grandiosity which, in my view, is exceeded only by the sexual intercourse in Jules Dassin's movie "Phaedra".

But Bunny dies during the act.

Then Mee Pok man slaps his face many times while shouting invectives against himself.

Afterwards, he places her corpse in a chair at the table every time he is eating, as if they were eating together. She decays more and more. In the final scene he is lying next to her altogether putrefied body in the bed, decently fondling her and saying, "Others loved you only when you were beautiful, but I still love you."

This movie has had two plot summaries. Having written one of them myself, I am not in a suitable situation to decide which of them is the best.

But both had been taken away, when some user complained somewhat like the following: "Now that I know how the movie ends, there is no reason for me to see the movie." I think such an argument is not worth listening to. If it were true, there would be no reason to see any movie more than once.

What is today's situation? If someone should happen to encounter the title, he or she could not look up IMDb and get any information that would help him decide whether to buy or lend this movie.

I think that the director and his team deserve better than that.

It is obvious that this is not a movie which everyone would appreciate, but there is definitely a group that would love it.

I do not expect everyone to share my evaluation. But in my view this is the best Asian movie released outside Japan.


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