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The prostitute Liz works on the streets of Los Angeles. She recalls her life in flashback, when she marries an alcoholic man. She leaves him with their son. Then she works as waitress in a diner until the day a man introduces her to prostitution. Later she is raped by at least five men and the pimp Blake "protects" her. Liz tries to escape from Blake and befriends the prostitute Katie; however Blake chases her. On the streets, she befriends the homeless Rasta (Antonio Fargas) that helps her when she needs. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A prostitute named Liz (Theresa Russell) relates her life and times to the viewer. She's running away from her vicious pimp (Benjamin Mouton) who wants to kill her. Rasta (Antonio Fargas) pops up from time to time to inexplicably help her.
This was made in response to "Pretty Woman" (which actually made prostitution look glamorous). Director Ken Russell had trouble getting funding for this--no actress would take the role and the title alone scared away investors. Finally Theeresa Russell (no relation) agreed to do it but he still had trouble getting funds. The movie was cheaply made and it shows in some of the sets. It also prevents Russell from any overindulgences (which are usually the highlights of his films). It comes off, cinematically, kind of muted.
The acting carries this. Theresa is a great actress--she pulls off the role showing the humor and pain in equal doses. Also she has quite a few long monologues which she pulls off without a hitch. Mouton is also good as her slimy pimp and it's always good to see Fargas in anything (although his character makes no sense).
The screenplay is great--it doesn't shy away from any of the realities of prostitution and is quite graphic. Nothing is really shown but the descriptions and sounds make it quite clear what's going on. It does fall apart at the end leaving a conclusion that was totally unbelievable. Some posters have complained that Russell is too glamorous to be a prostitute. That's true--but who wants to watch a movie with a real prostitute who aren't exactly attractive and are in terrible shape? Also there are a few cute references to earlier Russell films here--one movie theatre is playing "Lair of the White Worm" and another is playing a porno film starring China Blue (the character Kathleen Turner played in his "Crimes of Passion").
I saw this originally in 1991 in a theatre in it's NC-17 version. The one I saw on cable was R rated and dreadfully edited. The cuts are obvious and in one stupid moment a word is bleeped out (????). It still works as an R rated but try to find the uncut version. Good movie but the low budget hurts.
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