‘The Wrong Light’: Film Review

Josie Swantek Heitz and Dave Adams’ doc introduces a crusader opposite tellurian trafficking in Thailand who isn’t all he seems.

A thespian sign of how easy it is to feat Westerners’ good intentions in cultures they don’t understand, The Wrong Light explains how documentarians Josie Swantek Heitz and Dave Adams avoided apropos a mouthpieces of a self-proclaimed rescuer of immature Thai girls being sole into prostitution. Despite spasmodic unsure storytelling, a doc sticks to a goal even as a many elemental obstacles arise, producing a thespian comment that will make all do-gooders consider twice about how they spend their free dollars. Theatrical interest is modest, though word of mouth should assistance get a film seen on tiny screens and in special bookings.

The filmmakers went to Northern Thailand in 2013 to accommodate teenagers being helped by an classification called COSA. Mickey Choothesa, a group’s founder, told them he was a maestro fight photographer who came behind to his home nation to assistance girls who had been sole to pimps by their bankrupt farming families. Choothesa offering a directors “unprecedented access,” revelation them distressing stories about girls who, even before being sole off, were mostly raped by their possess family members. At COSA, we see them vital happily, going to propagandize and fastening with any other as they devise desirous futures.

But “unprecedented access” doesn’t meant all we competence expect: We learn that COSA discipline demarcate staffers or outsiders from seeking a girls about their pasts, lest they be aggrieved by aged memories. We are good into removing to know a 17 year-old Fon, for instance, before Heitz’s voiceover reveals that nothing of what we know about her past comes from a lady herself.

With Choothesa as their translator, Heitz and Adams go to a hill-tribe encampment to talk Fon’s mother. The lady denies offered her daughter or vouchsafing her be abused. Choothesa explains that this is a face-saving lie, though a Americans’ suspicions are aroused; in a scenes to come, they comprehend a film they’re creation is most some-more difficult than they expected.

Too committed to their initial plan to switch gears completely, Heitz and Adams exclude to make this a retaining true-crime review it competence have been, instead vouchsafing their onscreen investigator work share time with a concentration on dual or 3 of a girls vital during COSA. Understandable as it is, this divided-attention plan formula in a integrate of peculiar moments, as when a doc takes mixed breaks to follow one girl’s efforts to turn category boss during school.

Arguably, scenes like this underline a downside of a film’s investigation: If they learn and can infer that COSA is a sham, will they inadvertently finish whatever good it is doing for these children? Such questions are adequate to make any alien doubt either it’s probable to do good in a enlightenment he doesn’t know intimately. The Wrong Light shows that sometimes, those who seem to be best proficient with a problem shouldn’t be devoted to solve it.


Production company: Shine Global

Distributor: Cinema Guild

Directors: Josie Swantek Heitz, Dave Adams


Producers: Susan MacLaury, Josie Swantek Heitz

Executive producers: Albie Hecht, Barbara Dobkin

Director of photography: Dave Adams

Editors: Chris Tuss, Matt Cascella

Composer: Adam Taylor


In Mien and English

78 minutes

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