Kenneth Bi’s Girl$, now available on Blu-ray and DVD from FUNimation Entertainment, follows four young women as they explore the life of a nanan, or a paid date. Girl$ is an in your face look at the prostitution world in Hong Kong. It tells the story of four girls who are caught up in the exciting yet dangerous life.
In Chinese, the term nanan (which is the Chinese title of the film) is traditionally used as an affectionate term for a daughter or a young girl but has become a euphemism for the girls who work as prostitutes. This term couldn’t be more accurate. The four characters in the film are either teenagers or just twenties. And many of the men they are meeting are much older than they are. One of the girls, who sets up the jobs for the other women, somewhere between a pimp and an agent, is only 19. The film manages to capture the duality of girls of this age, with them growing up and able to make adult decisions but at the same time still children. This duality creates a different view of the prostitutes than one may have had previously.
The four main characters of the film come from different backgrounds and have different reasons for why they chose to become prostitutes. Icy, the one we know the least about is the one who helps to set up the dates for the men and the girls. Ronnie is a girl from a wealthy background who is lonely. She gets talked into going on a compensated date and ends up deciding on a slightly different take on the compensation. Lin is a hypersexual young woman who is just out for fun although it becomes obvious there is more to it than that. Gucci is a teenager who loves to buy name brand items, as her nickname implies. She decides to sell her virginity in order to make the money to buy a purse that she bid on and won.
Girl$ will take you on a roller-coaster ride through the life of these four young women. When there is scary news given out at the end, you really feel it the same as the women do. You become invested in the lives of these young women, whether you agree with their choices or not. And this is all despite the fact that you actually learn very little about these young women. The one you know the most about is Gucci, who in the end is the one who is the least involved in the dating trade.
It should be noted that this movie is not for anyone under 18 or people who are faint of heart. There is violence, sexuality, nudity, and language which can be hard to take at times. It portrays a realistic view of this life but can be hard to swallow.
The Blu-ray/DVD combo from FUNimation includes the full length movie as well as “Making of Girl$” and FUNimation trailers.