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In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.
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
When Liz gives the finger to the anal-sex enthusiast in the opening scene, a person is walking through the tunnel toward her. When she turns around a moment later, the pedestrian disappears. See more »
The comments on this film are pretty amusing, I just hope Mr. Russell has seen a few of them, as it would probably tickle him to-no-end. Come on, people, this is the real deal here, and these are a lot of the realities of prostitution. It isn't pretty, is it? How much value is attached to the life of a prostitute? Ask the King County sheriff's Department and the Seattle Police, they allowed the Green River killer to run-riot for 20+ years.
I consider this a pretty pure film for Ken Russell, and a pretty compassionate statement FOR the victims of prostitution. Legalization is (wisely) advocated, and we even get a few of the arguments (from the pimp himself) what some of the drawbacks would be. Prostitution is illegal for means of social control, period. Watch this film, and you will understand that Mr. Russell is a GENUINE Christian with a heart--after all, Jesus consorted with such people, didn't he? They need our help and our compassion, which is the main-theme of the film.
Of course, Ken Russell also enjoys the inherent bawdiness of the material-at-hand, or he wouldn't be Ken Russell! The dialog is a dream, and David Mamet's plays/screenplays would be a good analogy. It's also clear that a lot of the dialog came from real prostitutes and their stories. While some have commented on the low-budget look of the film, I don't think that this is accurate. It looks pretty slick cinematography-wise, and the acting by Theresa Russell (no-relation to the writer/director) is astonishing. She is easily one of the greatest actresses of her generation. She's also incredibly powerful in projecting her sexuality as an actor, which is pretty rare.Only Kathleen Turner stands as her equal.
So, if you enjoyed "Crimes of Passion" nearly as much as I did (a masterpiece), this will be a wonderful companion-film for you, dear viewers. You either love or hate Ken Russell, and he has always been my favorite form of a high-stress personality endurance-test. Most tend to fail this test, but it takes all-kinds, doesn't it? Once it hits DVD, it will finally be able to be fully-assessed. That it shines so brightly on my (unrated)VHS-copy is testament to its brilliance, and the genius of Ken Russell. A message to be heeded on the "world's oldest-profession." Puritans, take-heed. It shouldn't be a problem to say it. Give this man money to make another film!
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