08 March 2011

6 March - "Because we are the people you do not see"

Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

dir. Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, 2000)

Audrey Tatou (Amélie, 2000)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men, 2006)
Sergi López (Pan's Labyrinth, 2006)
Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, 2004)

It might be worth noting that this is Audrey Tatou's first English-speaking role. Good on you, girl! I really liked this movie, but my gentleman companion for the evening didn't seem to enjoy it as much, so: don't pick movies with sexual exploitation themes for a date?

Or maybe I just need to choose my movie-buddies more discriminately.

It also might not have helped that two minutes in I exclaimed, "black guys with British accents, score!"

Because I think that's a combo we can all support and admire.

This movie is about foreign immigrants scraping survival from the underbelly of London, but when Okwe, a Nigerian doctor forced to flee his home and family, finds a human heart in a hotel toilet, everything gets a little more complicated.

I like this because there's a good balance between suggesting the complicated ethics of the situation and making sure that the audience can still comfortably remain on the moral high ground. We know who the villain is, we know what he's doing is wrong. On the other hand, Sergi López gets a nice little monologue in which he explains that an illegal immigrant can sell their kidney for a passport, a rich person receives a kidney and lives, and Juan gets a nice payout and everyone wins, right? In one scene Juan takes Okwe to a woman and he refuses to operate, and she begs him to go through with it. She needs that passport. She thinks it's worth the risk. A lot of people do.

On the other hand, we've created a situation where the body itself is capital that be mined for resources. Where human flesh can conceivably be bought and sold. I think the question is not one of whether some people should be allowed to sell their organs. I think the question would better be, why should they have to?

Anyway, there's a happy ending. :)

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