Shanghai Hotel (2014)
1h 55min · Drama · 17 January 2014
The Shanghai Hotel is the story of a young woman named Yin Yin (Eugenia Yuan), who illegally buys her way to the USA from communist China hoping to make a better life for herself and her family. After a long, treacherous journey stowed away in a dark hull of an overcrowded cargo ship, Yin Yin arrives in New York City for what she thinks will be the beginning of a better life. Falsely promised a job in the technology industry, her dreams are shattered when she is told by the Snakeheads, an Asian gang, that her debt is much higher than expected. To pay off that additional debt she will have to work it off by being a prostitute. Yin Yin is devastated by the news that she is being sold into the sex slave trade. The rundown, decrepit building that Yin Yin and the other prostitutes live and work in is known as the Shanghai Hotel. Women from Thailand, Korea and China all reside in the Shanghai Hotel. Some of the women know what they are there for but most are just like Yin Yin, unwilling participants forced to sell their bodies. Upon arriving at the Shanghai Hotel, Yin Yin is isolated and locked in a room all by herself. The room has many windows, but the glass is spray painted black so that no one can see in or out. One window though is missing and is covered with just black tape. Yin Yin lifts the tape and has her only view of freedom and the outside world, the streets of New York City. While staring out the window, Yin Yin notices a bike messenger who is giving some food and blankets to the homeless people across the street from the Shanghai Hotel. She can tell that he is a kind-hearted person and decides to try and communicate with him. She gets his attention and passes him a note. The note tells of her horrible situation, but pleads with him not to tell anyone for fear of what repercussions the Snakeheads might take on her family in China. She ends the note by saying all she really needs is a friend. The bike messenger, named Carlos (Hill Harper), accepts her invitation of friendship but over time a love between the two of them develops through the passing of notes. The film explores the elements of human trafficking and the hardships that Yin Yin faces during her time at the Shanghai Hotel.
- Written by
Jerry Allen Davis
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