A high-priced call girl, shocked by her mother's death, decides to get out of the business and have a baby. The steps that she takes to free herself from her pimp and find a father for the baby are the central story of this movie.
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Claire Dolan is an Irish immigrant, working as a Manhattan call girl, paying off a debt she owes her pimp, Roland Cain. She's almost without affect, much like the sterile, glass-and-concrete high-rises where she lives and works. Violence lurks just below the surface. Cain can be menacing as are men who approach her. When her mother dies, Claire tries to escape the life, moving to Newark, visiting a cousin, working as a manicurist, realizing that she wants to have a baby, and going out a couple of times with a cabby. But Cain finds her and insists on payment, so she returns to Manhattan. The cabby wants to help: can Claire leave prostitution and find happiness in motherhood?Written by
After seeing this film I was immediately struck by its similarities to Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman. Certainly, they are very different films, but there is a significant overlap, not just in subject matter and character--Jeanne and Claire--but also in approach. So much of Claire's life passes in silence or repetition that the parallels to Jeanne are fairly strong. Also, viewing Claire in the context of Jeanne at least suggests that having a child will not at all be the answer and solution that Claire is looking for, as motherhood did not make Jeanne Dielman's life wonderful. This film never looks as stark or as imagistic or as metaphorically thought through as Akerman's film, but as it moves along, and despite prosaic and occasionally clumsy scenes, it does attain a visual presence, and aspires to some imagistic displays. When her pimp asserts ruthlessly deterministic views of Claire, they cast a huge shadow on the events left unresolved, and few viewers can come away from this film with anything approaching an upbeat reading; but as a reminder that humans are fragile, frustrating, frustrated and often just aimlessly pathetic, this can stand alone, a stones throw away from a brilliant experiment like Akerman's Jeanne Dielman.
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