Ticket | Chicago Reader

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The ticket of the title refers to the “bar fees” Korean prostitutes pay their madam in a system designed to keep them deep in debt. This 1986 film mixes moments of sharp realism with lots of familiar melodramatic cliches. One prostitute who dreams of being a movie star trusts an actor who claims he'll set up a screen test. Another weepily reads a letter from her little boy, whom she hasn't seen in ages. A young girl new to the city is drawn into this seedy world to make enough to support her boyfriend, who, like all the other men, is a heel. The madam is hard on the girls but has secrets of her own—she too is trapped in the system. At its worst, this film, directed by Im Kwon-taek, titillates. At its best, it offers a tough implicit critique of the capitalist exploitation of women. In Korean with subtitles. 100 min.

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