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The Center of the World
Directed by Wayne Wang
Produced by Wayne Wang
Peter Newman
Written by Wayne Wang
Miranda July
Starring Peter Sarsgaard
Molly Parker
Cinematography Mauro Fiore
Editing by Lee Percy
Release date(s) April 19, 2001
Running time 88 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Center of the World is an American film directed by Wayne Wang, digitally shot, released in 2001. It stars Peter Sarsgaard as a Dot-com millionaire who hires a drummer/stripper (Molly Parker) to stay with him in Las Vegas for three days for US$10,000. The film was screened out of competition at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

Internet executive Jason Calacanis consulted on, and appeared in, the film.



A couple checks into a suite in Las Vegas. In flashbacks we see that he's a computer whiz on the verge of becoming a millionaire, she's a lap dancer at a club. He's depressed, withdrawing from work, missing meetings with investors. He wants a connection, so he offers her $10,000 to spend three nights with him in Vegas, and she accepts with conditions: four hours per night of erotic play, and no penetration. During the days in Vegas, they get to know each other, have fun, meet a friend of hers; at night, at least after the first night, things seem to get complicated. When the three days are over, the stripper makes it clear that she was only there for the money and that the man she spent the time with was just a client. Upset that the feelings he had weren't mutual, he returns home heartbroken. The movie ends with his return to the strip club to see the woman he fell in love with again. She greets him fondly and says that she is glad to see him again. Because the movie is shown in a non-linear format, it is left to the viewer's interpretation of when this event occurred. One could choose to believe that the visit to the strip club occurred before the trip to Las Vegas, in which case the couple went their separate ways and never saw each other again, or one could believe that the couple met after their trip to Las Vegas and made another attempt at a relationship.


Popular and critical reception

The film opened to mixed reviews, and has been compared to movies with similar "hooker in love" storylines such as Exotica and Pretty Woman. The Center of the World is more explicit than the said films, containing both female and male full frontal nudity, as well as a penetration shot of a lollipop in a vagina.


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