[This review is taken from the London premiere, as part of the 5th annual London Film Festival, featuring a special Q&A with the director, producer and actress Gillian Anderson].
Sold is based on the award winning 2006 book by Patricia McCormick, brought to the screen by first time director Jeffrey D Brown. The story is the single tale of a young girl called Laxmi from Nepal, who is sold into sexual slavery and trafficked into India. However, these facts and figures put into context just how many Laxmi’s there are worldwide:
* There are 5.5 million people trafficked each and every year
* 20,000 of these are children from Nepal
* The sex slave trade is a $1.5 billion dollar annual industry
* It is the 2nd highest illegal trade in the world
In the words of the director, Sold is intended more as a movement, rather than simply a film. It was inspired by the award winning documentary ‘Born into Brothels’ (based in Calcutta) and by films such as Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay. If you know, or loved either of those, or films of those backdrops, then you will appreciate Sold.
As far as the film goes, it has some amazing performances from the young Laxmi, to all the characters she meets, good and bad. The casting of the film makes it feel all the more believable and real. Gillian Anderson’s role is short, but should hopefully add a commercial value to attract mainstream viewers in to watch the film. The gritty and real location settings bring the horrors of the red light district to life, but Jeffery also captures the beauty of mountainous Nepal on screen beforehand. Additionally the music by Sammy Chand is simply excellent, both uplifting and a great listen.
Going back to the story, although shocking as it is, Jeffery still manages to inject moments of humour, moments of hope and moments of happiness into the narrative. As viewers you are completely immersed into the world of the sex trade and get to understand just how the business works on a practical level. Through the films’ characters and back stories, we understand the context and background to what leads so many girls in becoming trafficked and how they become trapped and are unable to break free. What shines through as glimmers of hope within a horrible world, are the simple relationships Laxmi has with comrades around her. This makes SOLD a much more compelling human story, peppered with countless real life tales.
As we mentioned at the start, Sold is produced with a vision and mission in mind – to help eradicate child sex trafficking. If we were to review it simply as a film, we can confidently say it is an excellent piece of cinema – well written, well acted, well directed. If were to ask you get involved with the cause, then please please do so: