When Gabriel and Emilie meet by chance, he offers her a ride, and they spend the evening talking, laughing and getting along famously. At the end of the night, Emilie declines Gabriel's ... See full summary »
Shot on location in Cambodia, including many scenes in actual brothels in the notorious red light district of Phnom Penh, HOLLY is a captivating, touching and emotional experience. Patrick, an American card shark and dealer of stolen artifacts, has been 'comfortably numb' in Cambodia for years, when he encounters Holly, a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl, in the K11 red light village. The girl has been sold by her impoverished family and smuggled across the border to work as a prostitute. Holly's virginity makes her a lucrative prize, and when she is sold to a child trafficker, Patrick embarks on a frantic search through both the beautiful and sordid faces of the country, in an attempt to bring her to safety. Harsh, yet poetic, this feature forms part of the 'K-11' Project, dedicated to raising awareness of the epidemic of child trafficking and the sex slavery trade through several film projects. The film's producers endured substantial hardships in order to be able to shoot in Cambodia ... Written by
Child 'Sexploitation' is one of the most serious issues facing our world today and I feared that any film on the topic would jump straight to scenes of an explicitly sexual nature in order to shock and disturb the audience. After having seen both 'Trade' and 'Holly', one film moved me to want to actually see a change in international laws. The other felt like a poor attempt at making me cry for five minutes with emotive music and the odd suicide.
I do not believe that turning this issue into a Hollywood tear jerker is a useful or necessary strategy to adopt and I must commend the makes of 'Holly' for engaging subtly but powerfully with the terrible conditions these children are sadly forced to endure. 'Trade' wavered between serious and stupid with scenes involving the death of a cat coming after images that represented children being forced to commit some horrendous acts. I found this unengaging and at times offensive to the cause. If I had wanted a cheap laugh I would not have signed up for a film on child trafficking.
For anyone who would like to watch a powerful film that actually means something I would suggest saving the money on the cinema ticket for the release of 'Holly'.
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