TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- An early screening of London-based Taiwanese director Jenny Lu's (盧謹明) debut feature film "The Receptionist" (接線員) will take place today in Kaohsiung, before the film's official premier on June 23.
"The Receptionist" is a film based on a true story and portrays the dark underworld of illegal massage parlors in London. The movie tells the story through the eyes of a Taiwanese college graduate who has had to resort to working as receptionist at a massage parlor after failing to find a respectable job during the 2008 economic crisis.
A joint venture between Taiwanese and British movie production companies, the film shows the lives of Asian migrant women who had come to London to seek opportunities, but find themselves being forced to work in the illegal sex trade to survive and face the harsh realities that entails.
As many of the characters are from China and Taiwan, the film contains a mix of English, Mandarin and Taiwanese dialect speakers.
The film's director, Jenny Lu, based the story on her personal experience struggling to find work during the 2008 economic crisis and the suicide of a friend, who secretly had worked in the sex industry. Due to great financial pressure, the women believe that selling their bodies is their only viable option. Yet this choice is not without consequences as they have to both conceal their work from their friends and family and deal with the stigma attached to sex workers.
The movie also shows the human side of the massage workers, their friendship, shared experiences, and how they are able to cope with their circumstances.
The receptionist is played by Teresa Daley (紀培慧) who was born in the U.S. to an American father and a Taiwanese mother, but grew up in Taiwan.
The film also features Hong Kong-born Sophie Gopsill (卓見) as the massage parlor's mama-san "Lily," as well as the masseuses played by Taiwanese actresses Shiang-chyi Chen (陳湘琪) as "Sasa," Amanda Fan (范時軒) as "Mei," and Shuang Teng, (溫爽) as "Anna."
The early screening in Taiwan will take place in Kaohsiung's Cinema in89 at 7 p.m., today, June 20, 2017.