A Japanese film shot mostly in Thailand with Thai actors as villains and victims (Japanese are the good guys) is getting very mixed reviews indeed — because of its subject, not its quality.
Yami no Kodomotachi (Children of the Dark) is a documentary-style movie, with full brutality and sensational exploitation. It tells of how children are used in Thai brothels, including beatings and even murders. The movie claims to be based on real cases but a reading of the reviews indicates that the key words are “based on” and not “real cases”.
[Director Junji] Salkamoto shows, with a documentary-like directness, how children caught in the web of a Thai prostitution ring are exploited, abused and, in some cases, murdered when they are no longer sexually salable. Despite its thriller plot structure, the film is a serious indictment, based on actual cases. There is not a “Lolita”-ish leer in it.
Well, movies can’t be called successful if they don’t make money, and the director of Yami no Kodomotachi is pushing the limits of child-sex movies like never before.
It will be interesting to see if this movie is screened or even sold in Thailand. There are no explicit sex scenes, that should go without saying. But the subject is very close to taboo, in Thailand and in society in general.