Synopsis by Mark Deming
The desperate lives of a handful of denizens of San Francisco's Tenderloin district are chronicled in this independent drama from filmmaker Rob Nilsson. Lou (Brette McCabe) is an aging street prostitute who wants to get out of the life, but she lacks the temperament for the straight life, and has started using heroin again, which even her dealer regards as a bad idea. Lou is also living dangerously by not giving a cut of her earning to her pimp, who usually responds to such behavior with violence. Jane (Marianne Heath) is Lou's daughter, who makes her living dancing at a dingy strip club, though she's grown tired of the work and has become willing to join her friend Petite (Diane Gaidry) in strong-arming johns for their wallets. And Francesca (Gabriela Maltz Larkin) is a friend of Jane who runs a combination brothel and phone sex service. While Francesca arranges pleasure for others, she's desperately lonely herself, and when Jane begins dating a handicapped man who shares a flat with Francesca, she explodes with resentment and jealousy. Need is the sixth film in director Nilsson's "9@Night" series, which documents life along the margins in the Bay Area.