Thursday, May 04, 2017

The Girl From The Brothel Takes On Sex Trafficking In Cambodia

“The film overwhelms.” -Le Monde


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"Today there are forty million child slaves on the worldwide sex market. Three to four million children more each year. In every city, around the world, a pedophile can buy a child for the night. A little boy or a little girl kidnapped, we don’t know where, with no documents and no rights.
There have never been as many slaves as there are today, and they are all children who cannot fight to change their own destiny. A pedophile can hide every where. In our neighbor, between our friends or even in our families. We can no longer look the other way."
- Mia (lead character in THE GIRL FROM THE BROTHEL


LOS ANGELES, CA (April 12, 2017) Inspired by New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof’s series on child sex trafficking in Cambodia, Italian director Ilaria Borrelli (The Washing Machine, Our Italian Husband) developed her third feature, THE GIRL FROM THE BROTHEL.  The film, which tell the story of a woman who catches her husband paying for sex with an eleven-year-old girl, was released in Italy and France on over 200 screens with the support of European non-governmental organizations such as Ecpat, Signis, Amnesty France and Karitas. It will now find its North American audience through home theater options (DVD & On Demand) and screening events starting April 25, 2017, distributed by Cinema Libre Studio.
Filmed entirely in Cambodia and partially set in the notorious Svay Pak neighborhood outside of Phnom Penh, the film shares the journey of Mia, a Parisian photographer (played by Borrelli), who sells her own body to pay for the freedom of a girl, Srey. With two other girls who stow away in their truck, they embark on a cross country journey to return the girls to their homes, and in doing so, witness the country’s environmental exploitation, poverty and desperation, the kind of that would drive families to sell their children into slavery.

Borrelli says, “I’ve been following certain organizations that deal with violence against children for years. I was struck by Nicholas Kristof’s undercover work in Cambodia. With a hidden camera, he captured children under 10 years old, offering him oral sex for 5 dollars and telling him that if he didn’t like it he didn’t have to pay. I felt such rage, and such pain and indignation on behalf of the human race. How can there be people willing to incarcerate children and force them to have sex with, in some cases, 20 men a day? It’s unimaginable, and yet it happens. Writing is the only way I can deal with that shock and that disgust: putting the pain black on white. And then making a movie out of that becomes an obsession, maybe because no other art form can transmit emotions as powerfully as film.”

The narrative feature was an official selection at several international festivals and won Best Film at the Women's International Film Festival Miami and Los Angeles Women's International Film Festival for its gritty and honest storytelling. The film screened two times at the United Nations in Geneva, for King Albert and Queen Paola of Belgium at the European Parliament and at the Italian Parliament. Following the Italian Parliament screening, a law was passed that guarantees the protection and reception of unaccompanied foreign minors.

Borrelli’s directorial debut (Our Italian Husband, 2004) featured Brooke Shields and Chevy Chase.  She is also and accomplished actress in Italy and a prolific author.

Synopsis:  Mia, a successful Paris-based photographer, bored by her comfortable, middle-class existence, flies to Cambodia to surprise her businessman husband, Xavier, with plans of convincing him to start the family with her that she has always wanted.

But her hope for a romantic rendezvous is dashed when she spies her husband in a brothel having sex with an eleven year-old girl named Srey.  Mia, her world turned completely upside down, resolves to rescue Srey and return her to the remote village from where she was abducted. Mia strikes a repulsive bargain with Sanan, the brothel owner, and sacrifices her own body to a high-powered government official in order to liberate the little girl. She and Srey then embark on the long journey home.

However, Mia discovers that Srey has stowed away Daa and Malin, two other young escapees from the brothel. They had also stolen money from Sanan and Mia realizes that they, too, will be hunted down. Torn by the sudden additional responsibility, Mia reluctantly agrees to help all three children return to their separate villages spread across the Cambodian jungle.

Under constant threat from their pursuers, Mia and the girls embark on a perilous escape to freedom and, along the way, are reminded that there is still much to celebrate in life.

Written and Directed by: Ilaria Borrelli
Produced by:
 Guido Freddi
Cinematography: David Vlasits
Editors: Marie Castro, Eric Heinrich, Emanuele Muscolino
Cast:  Ilaria Borrelli, Philippe Caroit, Setha Moniroth, Yang Sreypich, Kiri Sovann, Sen Somnag                   
Distributor:  Cinema Libre Studio
Release Date: April 25, 2017 (DVD and On Demand - Amazon Instant and Vimeo)
The 411:

It was a difficult movie to watch. As a child of sexual abuse it kills me that thousands of children are SOLD as sex slaves. Children under the age of 15! They are often sold by their family for a small profit or for the promise of a better life somewhere else. It is the disgusting truth and horrifies me that people want this and that these losers live in the world with their children. 

In this movie Mia (played by the director and writer Ilaria) heads to Cambodia to surprise her husband but is the one who is surprised when she spots him being "serviced" by a child! She spends the rest of the movie trying to help Srey and other girls gain their freedom and get them back to their families while escaping the thugs and deviants that make money off these children. 

The sad truth is that this isn't just a mindless movie to entertain and make you think. This is really going on. It is the sad, horrific, ugly reality of many children who are sold as sex slaves. There are real children living in these stark, dirty, rubbish filled streets lined with shanty shacks.  There are families who have either sold or had their children kidnapped so others can make money off their innocence.  Ilaria and the child actors showed a lot of heart. My heart ached for them as they searched for news of their families and in one case was refused by her family because she was dirty now and the village would run the family out of they allowed their child back in. 

This movie is one that made me hug my children just a little tighter as I prayed that they will never personally know the hardship of so many children in the world as well as wish I could take every child who is crying and feels alone into my arms and make them feel safe and loved!


TRT:  88 mins. | AUDIO 5.1 | RATIO 16:9
SRP: $19.95 | CLS12541 | UPC 88139412412
LANGUAGE:  Emglish, Khmer
RATING:  Not Rated
GENRE: Drama
REGION: NTSC All Regions

· Trailers
· 15-minute featurette - Behind the Scenes
· Music Video –“Moon Eyes”
· Closed Captioning

ABOUT CINEMA LIBRE: Cinema Libre Studio is a full-service mini-studio known for producing and distributing high concept feature films and social impact documentaries.  Headquartered in the Los Angeles area, the team has released over 200 films.

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Disclaimer: I received a complimentary product for my honest opinion. My reviews are 100% honest and true based on my personal opinion not on a company’s description or request. I am not employed by any company I review for. No monetary compensation was received.

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