Volume 77 / Number 39 - Feb. 27 - March 04, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Koch on Film

By Ed Koch.

“London to Brighton” (+)

This movie is devoted to the seamy side of life involving prostitution, pimps and criminality which exists in most, if not all, cities. In this case, it is the City of London.

Prostitution is the oldest of all professions, and whether or not we approve, it continues. It takes place in third-world countries, now known as developing nations, as well as in the most enlightened and sophisticated countries. One element which horrifies almost everyone not in the sex trade is the abuse of children in sex trafficking.

“London to Brighton” deals with a pimp, Derek (Johnny Harris), his partner, Chum (Nathan Constance), and an 11-year-old runaway, Joanne (Georgia Groome), who is used by the father of Stuart (Sam Spruell) for his perversion. Stuart is apparently at the top of the sex crime ring. Joanne is ultimately saved by a prostitute, Kelly (Lorraine Stanley), but not until a lot of blood has been shed and several murders have been committed. Flashbacks, identifiable by the fact that in them Kelly does not have a blackened eye and swollen face, are seen later in the film.

Some societies apply the death penalty in cases involving rape. I believe rape, particularly of a child, is equal to murder with respect to punishment, and I would support having the death penalty available for such an offense. Regrettably, opposition to the death penalty is increasing in the U.S. and before too long it will be totally banned. Too bad. I believe its implementation may act as a deterrent, but even if it did not, especially heinous cases call out for its application.

The acting of all the principals in the picture is superb. The movie is currently playing at the Cinema Village, which shows the broadest range of films: generally good and interesting but not always. This one is worth seeing.

“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (+)

This movie, which takes place in Romania in the 1980s, packs a wallop.

A young woman, Gabita (Laura Vasiliu), wants to have an abortion. During its Communist days, Romania did not permit them. Gabita is aided in her effort by her college friend, Otilia (Anamaria Marinca), who contacts the abortionist, Mr. Bebe (Vlad Ivanov), and arranges for the hotel room where the procedure will take place. Meanwhile, Otilia has her own problems with her boyfriend, Adi (Alex Potocean), who wants to marry her.

Mr. Bebe is presented both as a sympathetic and cruel figure rendering an illegal service to a forlorn young woman as well as engaging in other vile behavior in his demand for payment. While watching the picture, you will be reminded of the consequences if Roe vs. Wade were to be overturned. In countries where abortions are illegal, the option of a back-alley, unsanitary and dangerous abortion is always available. The views of the Right to Life Movement will confront you as well when you see the aborted fetus and wonder how it will be disposed of. Every controversy does not have a solution to satisfy both sides. This film may help you decide which side of the issue you are on.

The movie is filmed in black and white, and its grayish tones add to the sense of loss that fills every moment on the screen. (In Romanian with English subtitles.)

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