Saturday, December 3, 2011

Trade of Innocents

Yet another movie about the sex trade is scheduled for release early in 2012. It's set in Cambodia, though filmed in Thailand, and called Trade of Innocents. It stars Academy Award-winner Mira Sorvino and Dermot Mulroney and tells the story of a couple who after the loss of their own child seek to protect those threatened by the child sex trade in Siem Reap. Canadian filmmaker Christopher Bessette is the man behind the movie that weaves together the stories behind the world of trafficking, from the cop who turns a blind eye to the crimes to the mother who sells a child to provide for the rest of her family. It's an issue close to Mira Sorvino's heart as a UN Ambassador on Drugs and Crime. "It just has to be something that we as a world of caring individuals, of moral people, say no to and really get active about it rather than just deploring it and then walking away," said Sorvino.

Director of Photography Philip Hurn shed some light on their decision to film in Thailand. "We decided to shoot on location in Thailand (as Cambodia). The art department, lead by production designer Mona Nahm, had this enormous task of building a realistic replica of one of the temples of Angkor Wat in Siam Reap, Cambodia. We nicknamed it “Foam Core Wat”, because it was primarily built out of bamboo framing and carved foam and took one month to build for one day of shooting! It pained me to see a detail that must have taken hours to carve, just out of frame, but the story and action had to come first. Most of our shooting took place in and around Bangkok and our goal was to find locations that would pass for the small city of Siam Reap, Cambodia. We did a lot of shooting in the French Quarter and China Town that had early French colonial influences. One location in particular was the old bicycle shop. This involves the little girl who has befriended the couple who live upstairs from her. The building was at least 150 years old and when we shot upstairs we were limited to about 20 cast and crew together for fear the floor might collapse!"

Pity that the man in charge of photography didn't take the time to check the correct spelling of Siem Reap. If the film plays a part in highlighting and reducing sex slavery, then it'll be worth it. Though disappointingly, no one in Cambodia, the backdrop to the film, benefited from the production, as far as I can tell. You can read more about the film at their website.



Blogger Sue Guiney said...

Very interesting....both because the name of the film is so reminiscent of the name of my 1st Cambodian novel, "A Clash of Innocents" ( as you may remember). But also because I am completing the first draft now of my 2nd Cambodian novel which will also be set in Siem Reap and deal with the sex trade. Oh well.. I suppose these things often happen. By the way, I'll be back in Cambodia for a month in March-April. Maybe we can get together for a drink/coffee/chat....

December 5, 2011 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Absolutely yes Sue. Spooky eh....

December 5, 2011 at 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I was in for a treat watching this movie, without first reading the reviews, I could not recognize the language they were speaking throughout the film so I thought this was about and based on Thailand. I wouldn't have mind as much if that was so. However, was turned off when I noticed a Cambodian Flag and early in the movie mentions that this was about Cambodia. Then why not have at least actors attempt to speak Khmer. This unfortunately made the film look and felt cheap. Couldn't finish the movie, couldn't lose myself in the film. I know they tried for a good thing but the directors should do their homework next time. Thai is completely different than Khmer.

December 3, 2012 at 9:57 AM  

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