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The Good Woman of Bangkok (1991)


In Bangkok, Thailand, Australian filmmaker Dennis O’Rourke hires a prostitute, Aoi, and makes her the subject of the film. Glimpses of the red light area of Bangkok are intercut with Aoi’s views of her life and her place in the scheme of things. When he buys her a rice farm so she can stop being a prostitute, she says ‘If you want to help me, that is up to you, but don’t expect anything in return’. At the end of the film we learn that Aoi has returned to prostitution.

Curator’s notes

This documentary is interesting in that it explores a subject where the filmmaker is an integral part of the outcome. O’Rourke clearly has an emotional connection to Aoi but what is her response? She says ‘I am trash’ and ‘It is my fate’. The film becomes an interesting debate between Western and Eastern views of life.

At the time of the film’s release there was a lot of debate about the filmmaker’s relationship with the subject and the issues that it raises.

Dennis O’Rourke is a prominent filmmaker. His credits include Land Mines – A Love Story, Cunnamulla, 'Cannibal Tours’ and Half Life: A Parable for the Nuclear Age.