A day in the life of several prostitutes in an upscale Manhattan whore house. The film is a stark portrayal of the women prostitutes, the male customers and the motivations of both. Watch ... See full summary »
Four women filmmakers examine sexuality in this anthology. Segment 1 is entitled "Let's Talk About Sex" and is the story of an aspiring actress whose day job is as a phone-sex operator. ... See full summary »
Interview with Jason Holliday aka Aaron Payne, house boy, would be cabaret performer, and self proclaimed hustler giving one man's gin-soaked pill-popped, view of what it was like to be ... See full summary »
Having emigrated to New York and immediately got the kiss-off from her mother-besotted fiance, a Dutch lass takes a well-paid office job and starts liberally sampling the local male talent.... See full summary »
Over 16 hours, in February, 1987, a man confronts jealously and rage as a love affair falters. Photojournalist Mel Hurley returns home to San Francisco on the eve of his birthday, expecting... See full summary »
Set in 1938 Berlin, Louise Von Hollendorf is the wife of a young Nazi diplomat who meets and falls in love with a certain Mitsuko Matsugae, an artist and the daughter of the Japanese ... See full summary »
In Lyon, where many are unemployed, Marie is a prostitute who loves her work: she's thoughtful and exuberant toward clients old and young, slim or flabby. One night, a homeless man sleeps ... See full summary »
A day in the life of several prostitutes in an upscale Manhattan whore house. The film is a stark portrayal of the women prostitutes, the male customers and the motivations of both. Watch as the madam manipulates her "girls". Watch as she answers the phone by saying "Hello John, what's new and different?" Watch as the "johns" try to manipulate the "girls". Part nudie exploitation, part sociological thesis. Written by
Mark Logan <email@example.com>
Working Girls (not to be confused with the singular and singularly awful Mike Nichols movie that features Melanie Griffith vacuuming a carpet, nakedly) is an easily underestimated accomplishment, and despite the rampant nudity and unblinking depictions of adult sexuality, a guaranteed sex-deterrent.
It's hilarious, embarrassing, grim, deeply disturbing, cynical, touching, clinical and creepily locker-room-intimate, all at the same time.
There will be those people who can't make it past the low budget vibe that (admittedly) permeates the whole movie, but anyone who criticizes its occasionally stilted acting (and it's an easy target) misses the point: it's PROSTITUTION. Which is to say that paid sex is possibly the root source of all bad acting. Even having said that, the performances are deceptively understated in their squirmy, quasi-nude ease.
The characters of Lucy and Dawn especially, are horrifically too-true. I walked around mimicking Lucy's idiotic "What's new and different?" for weeks. Dawn's gum-snapping hostility, and her impromptu James Brown imitation ("Good God, Mollie- you're a whoooore!") are as grating as they are winning. Singling these two actresses out is unfair though; their characters are especially dynamic, given that they're essentially opposing ends of the same spectrum of self absorption.
Even the least likely supporting roles are realized with unexpected complexity. Witness Lucy, the house's madam, reprimanding Mary, a mousy new 'girl' for her unappealing wardrobe choice on her first night on the job. When Lucy reminds her condescendingly that she is to dress as though she "just came from lunch with her mother, and is on her way to meet her boyfriend for drinks", Mary replies in a small voice, with a discomfiting mixture of stubborness and shame, "This is what I wore."
Possibly the most remarkable aspect of this movie is the realization that prostitution, at least at this elevated level (the 'girls' work in a clean, modern apartment, and schedule 'appointments' through phone ads listed mostly in upscale skin magazines) is just another daily grind, a job, plain and simple. Ellen McElduff's Lucy is every thoughtless, self-absorbed boss you've ever wanted to throttle; the difference is that she's seen you naked, and can talk about your sex life with no legal repercussions.
That's glib, of course; each of the 'girls' is seen to struggle with the work, and what it means in a larger sense, politically and personally. Finally though, just as it seems uncompromisingly grim, the film sneaks in a remarkable twist. It's essential to watch to the very end of the closing credits though, or you might miss a moment that offers a lovely moment of reassurance, and tender domesticity.
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