THE GOOD WOMAN OF BANGKOK

Dennis O’Rourke
Australia 1991 | 82 Min. | 35 mm, OmU
Q&A with:
Dennis O’Rourke

This film is a doc­u­men­tary about pros­ti­tu­tion, despict­ing the phe­nom­e­non as a metaphor for cap­i­tal­ism and for rela­tion­ships between men and women in gen­er­al, and as in this spe­cial case on the line between race and cul­ture. GOOD WOMAN OF BANGKOK is also a film about the voyeuris­tic ten­den­cies inher­ent in making a film and watch­ing one. When O’Rourke was fourty-three his mar­riage broke. In the months and years to come, he tried to under­stand why love can be so banal and pro­found at the same time. He decid­ed to go to Bangkok, the Mecca for west­ern men with fan­tasies about exotic sex and love with­out pain. He wanted to meet a Thai pros­ti­tute and to make a film about her. And he wanted to fall in love. As a cus­tomer, O’Rourke gets to know Aoi, falls in love with her and stays for a nine-months rela­tion­ship. Per­son­al­ly involved, O’Rourke offers a view through Aoi’s eyes into her per­son­al sit­u­a­tion and how eco­nom­ic cir­cum­stances force her and others into pros­ti­tu­tion. He wants to help her to escape from that kind of life and offers to buy her and her family a rice­farm. She accepts the offer, but refus­es his love. As indi­cat­ed in the film’s title, O’Rourke aims to tell a para­ble in Brecht’s sense about the impos­si­bil­i­ty to live a good life in an unper­fect world.