|Index||2 reviews in total|
I've seen this documentary a couple of times and it never fails to
capture my interest from beginning to end. It's a non-judgmental look
at the prostitution industry in New York circa 1993. The film cleverly
juxtaposes the relatively high-class, free and safe inner city escort
style prostitution with that of the addiction fueled, survival
prostitution of the suburban ghettos. Days-in-the-lives of and stories
from a demographic mix of prostitutes, dominatrixes, clients and one
strangely endearing brothel owner are placed on top a base of vox pops,
pertaining to the question "have you ever paid for sex?". Whilst this
may sound like an obvious line of enquiry to include in such a film, it
works so well due to the unexpectedly candid responses from the public
and the fact that this theme runs relentlessly from beginning to end.
The film-maker herself also adds to the effect of the documentary by
appearing extremely peripheral throughout, forcing only her
contributors and images to tell the story. Only a couple of times does
she add a voice-over, and never is it judgmental or subjective.
It's therefore of strongest recommendation that if you get chance to see this documentary, then do so. You most certainly wont feel you've wasted your time
After a rather dry introduction by director Beeban Kidron, this
interesting and depressing documentary gets right down to business with
two men showing her around a building they are going to turn into a New
York city brothel. Although the film does show sexual acts (pixilated)
the film is never titillating in the way some "documentaries" about the
sex industry (be it pornography, stripping or prostitution) and this is
a good thing. It covers a range of types of prostitution from the
brothels, the high-price streets right down to the women who are just
earning enough to buy that day's fix.
It is not a cheerful film but it is not a judgemental one neither thanks to Kidron's handling of her subjects and material. So we get to hear from working girls who have had mixed experiences, those who love the work, men who walk about the wider art of hustling and women who simply have nothing else in their life but sex and the drugs that it pays for. The messages are therefore mixed and the film wisely avoids suggesting easy solutions because, I think it knows, there are simply none to be had. The contributions are mostly honest and interesting from those given the time to talk and relate. I must admit that I found the street vox pops to be mostly pointless and fail to bring out any genuine or interesting conversation but these didn't take up too much time.
Visually the film has dated because the clothes, hair styles and so on have all been and gone and the film is very stuck in the late eighties/early nineties and it is easy to assume the material is as well. However ignoring the visuals it all still applies and fans of HBO's The Wire will recognise much in the women selling themselves for a few dollars just to get a hit. Overall then a pretty good documentary that sees Kidron mostly just point and shoot. It perhaps lacks a point which will bother some but to me was a strength and it simple depicts and allows the viewer to think for themselves.
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