Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Chan Sen
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror
Determined to escape from the harsh regime of China to the freedom of Hong Kong, three youths are captured by Mr. Hok, a sadistic human smuggler who subjects them to an unrelenting assault of degradation. Pushed to the lim... more »
T. F. Mous before he was T. F. Mous...
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 03/30/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Da She (T. F. Mous, 1980)
Hong Kong-based exploitation film director T. F. (Tun Fei) Mous, who would go on to worldwide notoriety eight years after this with Men Behind the Sun, teamed up here with equally low-rent exploitation producers the Shaw Brothers for a pinky-style look at the plight of illegal Chinese immigrants to Hong Kong. They took the most lurid stories they could find, elaborated on those as much as they could, and then turned Mous and screenwriters (this was his only screenwriting credit) Tung Yau Yip and Fei Mok (Bank Busters) loose. The end result, while not being anywhere near as brutal (or as well thought-out) as Men Behind the Sun, certainly shows the roots of Mous'... genius? madness? whatever you want to call it.
The story centers on three close friends who wouldn't have any luck at all if they didn't have bad luck. First, they miss the boat out of China, and have to swim for it. When they get to the boat, most of its inhabitants don't want to let them on; after all, it's full and they haven't paid. They eventually do get hauled on board, only to have the boat attacked when it gets to the shores of Hong Kong. Most of the refugees are rounded up and taken to a large orange tent, but these three manage to escape, only to fall into the clutches of a series of more and more bizarre, sadistic captors. It seems that illegal Chinese immigrants are good old-fashioned currency on the outskirts of Hong Kong society, and are eventually sold for slave labor, but not before being humiliated in all sorts of ways first.
One of the things that raises Men Behind the Sun so far above the average exploitation film is that the movie has an actual plot, and some decent characters that can hang from it. Da She (known in the States, those few times you might actually stumble across a copy, as Lost Souls) lacks both of these qualities, but it shows the way Mous got from point A to point B; the character development may be absent, but the emotional frameworks are the same, both for his illegal Chinese immigrants and his later Chinese test subjects, and his fascination with the extremes to which a person can be taken is also in evidence, though here, with a few exceptions, the torture suffered by these folks is more emotional than physical (relatively, of course). It's silly and predictable, but if you're a Mous fan, it's an important archival document, and it's one you should search out. **