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Critics' Picks

'The Good Woman of Bangkok'

April 03, 1994|Michael Wilmington

One of the most powerful and memorable documentaries on prostitution. The entire film is an act of exposure, of both Aoi, a Thai prostitute, and the filmmaker, the Australian Dennis O'Rourke, who falls in love with her in the process of making the film. We're never allowed to step very far back, either from Aoi's hurt life or O'Rourke's increasing shame at his part in it. He offered her a rice farm for her participation in the film; the result of that offer forms this 1992 documentary's bleak coda. Those who denounce this movie for its displays of nudity or conversations about sex will have foolishly missed the point (Cinemax Thursday at 4:30 a.m.)

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