Girls Without Tomorrow/Call Girl:”Love is the most vulnerable, not life and each of us has it.”

Year: 1988
Directed by David Lam
Produced by Teddy Robin
Written by Raymond To,Tommy Sham Sai-Sang, and Joan Lau Woon-Gwan
Cast: Stanley Fung, Maggie Cheung, Elsie Chan, Fung Bo-Bo Lau Siu-Ming, Carrie Ng, Lam Chung, and Kent Tong
The story of several desperate ill-fated women that find themselves forced to sell their bodies and how that profession dooms them.

Any truthful story about the ladies of the night can only be depressing since that it is sheer desperation that drives these troubled women. In the form of seamless vignettes, it’s a story that features a illegal immigrant, a young woman with a dying mother, a middle-aged woman working to support her husband in dire need of medical treatment, a working actress and a teenage delinquent that has run away from her home. All of these women are down on their luck and find themselves compelled into this undignified profession. The focus is spread across characters from varying backgrounds. The advantage of such is that prostitution is approached with a more multi-layered perspective. A perspective that incorporates all kinds of experiences across of Hong Kong’s social strata. More than a personal tragedy, prostitution is treated more as a societal tragedy.

Girls Without Tomorrow is emotionally bleak. As the title hints at, the future for its heroines is bleak. For much of them, the future is dim without much hope. There was a hopeful future for one but that was quickly quashed. Prostitution takes on many forms glamorized, or not, but the rotten core of it and how that it inflicts its suffering is the same. Each vignette in Girls Without Tomorrow has a very human story undergirding it. Although their stories don’t converge, the stories feel intertwined because of a sense of a shared pathos that underlies their stories . Dramatically poignant, every one of the leads gives strong performances. In a time in her career when Maggie Cheung was limited to mainly one-note roles, Maggie Cheung has an opportunity to emote more. Girls Without Tomorrow has no qualms about showing human misery at its absolute worst. It could be in a manner that some find tasteless. Yet, it is that brazen take on human suffering that Girls Without Tomorrow is able to tell its story with an uncompromising honesty.

A pathos driven story about the plight of women entangled in a profession that dehumanize them and destroys their lives. The personal drama that’s inflamed by powerful emotions while being socially conscious of a terrible profession.

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