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Mundo do Cinema, by Jr. Schutt Costa . 31/03/2016


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SOLD ***

There’s a universal voice shouting for help, a collection of wounded innocent souls suffering around the globe in the hands of perversion. The voice is disturbingly evident, most lose their battles becoming silent, and some manage to be heard and rescued, picking up the pieces along the way. Human trafficking is a drastic issue that affects millions of children around the globe, separating families and traumatizing the future of its victims.

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Academy Award winner director Jeffrey D. Brown adapted Patricia McCormick’s novel set in Calcutta, India, constructing the narrative as an investigative thriller on the subject and on the victims, exposing his indignation and disgust for the criminals behind such barbarities. A 12-year-old girl is tied up in bed, semi-unconscious, bruised and in a state of delirium after being abused several times in the brothel, victim of a sex-trafficking scheme, while the housemaid collects a large amount of money left by her visitors around the tiny decadent room. Shocking and disturbing, this intimate look at a hopeless girl trapped in a cage of perversion, is one of several moments the film finds to alert the urgency to combat this humanitarian absurdity in contemporary world.

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Beautiful and active, wide open eyes Lakshmi had no idea what expected her once she left the joys of living in a remote area in Nepal with her parents. Her father agreed to a deal with a foreign woman, accepting money in exchange of taking her away to work on the woman’s house. At first Lakshmi refuses to depart but the opportunity gives her reasons to dream of providing for her mother. As she arrives in India, she carries on her saddened eyes the fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of what comes next. Her doubts increase as she’s aggressively locked in a room, in order to receive the first step of preparation for the “customers” at, what they sadistically call “the happiness house”. The anxiety continues, as she meets the other girls in the house, allowing them to mock her ignorance and innocence.

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Her childhood finally breaks apart as she finally realizes she’s being captive as a sex slave sold in the red district commerce, when she has her first encounter- which she manages to escape. Captured, severely beaten and punished, she observes from her imprisonment the chaotic world outside, corruption, distortion, robbery, bribery and perversion, fearing the violation of her purity, until an American photographer notices her. Played by Gillian Anderson, the photographer joins forces to a local group called “Hope House”, and along with Agent Sam (David Arquette) they form a team ready to fight on the field to rescue and restore these victims. Lakshmi (a luminous and heartbreaking Niyar Saikia) waits for hope, holding on to her beliefs, and while enduring the continuous sexual violence, she tries to escape meditating into her memories back home, and making efforts to develop bounds with the other victims, especially the lovely boy Harish, running around wearing soccer-player Ronaldo’s shirt.

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She is also fond of a prostitute who was diagnosed with AIDS and finds some relief with a customer who only requests to hold on tight to her one night. Although Lakshmi’s coming of age story is a traumatic journey, the film is punctuated by vivid colors and lights, choreographic dances and laughs, which translate to the compassion the victims share for each other. Director Brown conceived an efficient and moving look on the disappointment of these victims, and their struggle for hope; it’s also an accurate and immediate alert on the unacceptable abuse happening in real time around the world. (Opens Friday in NYC followed by other cities. Visit

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