Call Girl 92

Reviewed by YTSL

If someone had told me a year ago that I would come to think that films about prostitutes (such as "Girls without Tomorrow" along with this production) would be good examples of "women's dramas", I would have been rather incredulous, to say the least.  In all honesty, this female -- who has been described as "prudish" by a few of her friends might not even have been too amused to hear then that there really would be a time when she would choose to watch and actually be moved by some of the stories contained in them as well as enjoy the sight of women very obviously reveling in being women (albeit particular "types" of women).  Yet here this same (and still sane, I think...) individual sits today and bids to type out a review which -- among other things -- does set out to make these very points.

To be sure, CALL GIRL 92 is not without certain scenes that are somewhat...arousing.  That is perhaps to be expected of a movie which stars cute Veronica Yip, the striking Cecilia Yip, the cool beauty that is Cheung Man and the absolutely sizzling Carrie Ng; at least one of whose physical features and persona the viewer will surely consider to be attractive (Note to those who prefer to set their sights on men:  Vincent Wan is fairly tasty but it is true that much of the eye candy here comes in female forms).  Anyone seeking real exploitation fare will be left dissatisfied though.  As it is clearly stated in this offering's entry on Joseph Fierro's Hong Kong Cinema site:  "HK smuthounds may note that topless cars (3) outnumber topless women (0)."
Cheung Man, Veronica Yip and topless car!
Rather, IMHO, this ensemble piece primarily appeals or not by way of the differently themed yet all engrossing stories of the movie's four protagonists.  Along the way, CALL GIRL 92 lays waste to two misconceptions which are often held by viewers and people:  The first of which is that good-looking actors or actresses can't act; the second of which is that prostitutes -- like clowns -- don't really have feelings or a sense of honor and care.  The movie also gives its viewers food for thought by way of certain looks that we see the actresses give to the audience (by way of the camera) as well as what the characters say (often metaphorically) to each other.  Regarding the former:  Some of them bring to mind Manet's "Olympia" painting (N.B. Should one think I'm really stretching it, it should be recalled that Olympia was a prostitute).  More re the latter:  The analogy made between whores and actresses may be particularly illuminating.
Turning to a description of the main women of CALL GIRL 92:-  Though Veronica Yip's character may appear to be the fluffiest of the group whose lives we get given peeks of, she is shown to -- throughout -- value friendships (including those with her flatmate, a fellow call girl played by Elaine Wu, and a bouncer friend solidly portrayed by Vincent Wan), especially that which she has had since childhood.  Then there is Nancy (Cecilia Yip gives a compelling performance), who -- like her mother, Suzie (Surely they must have taken these names from NANCY Kwan, who famously played SUZIE Wong, one of THE "Oriental" female characters in Western cinema?) -- relies on alcohol for courage, to forget and to be momentarily happy as much as she generally distrusts males (even young ones -- as her daughter finds out).

It is a credit to Cheung Man's acting abilities that she starts off the movie successfully playing against type -- as an obedient housewife whose husband takes for granted and then gets a divorce from.  The woman that Cheung Man's character turns to for help (to find a way to earn a living and go about doing such uninhibitedly) is an ex-schoolmate now working as a "Madam"/pimp who not only finds clients for the call girls but also does such as invest their money for them.  The actress, Carrie Ng (who would go on a year later to win a prestigious Golden Horse award), admirably carries out whatever her role requires with as great a style as the confident "Mamasan" character she essays here.

Cheung Man
In technical terms, CALL GIRL 92 is not a brilliant piece of work. Among other things:  Either it was cheaply shot or the particular copy of the film which I viewed has degraded badly in just seven years.  It does seem too that not great editing has made for some jerky jumps as the movie changes its focus from one woman to another.  But, if truth be told, technical virtuosity was never the paramount element that attracted me to (the world of) Hong Kong movies.  Rather, it was "heart" and "soul"...and these, I believe this effort has quite a bit of.

My rating for the film:  8.

Elaine Wu, Cheung Man, Cecilia Yip, Veronica Yip and Carrie Ng