Official submission of Belgium for the 'Best International Feature Film' category of the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021. See more »
A chronicle of struggling women
'Filles de Joie' is Belgium's submission for the foreign language Oscar. This news came as a surprise for many moviegoers, because the release went largely unnoticed. In the northern part of the country the film didn't even make it to the cinemas. It's not hard to see why. This is a decent film, but nothing special. It certainly is no Oscar material.
The film chronicles the lives of three sex workers. Why they have chosen this line of work remains unclear, but each of them has issues in their personal lives. Axelle has to cope with three small children and an agressive ex-husband. Conso dreams of a future as a wife and mother, but is shattered when she learns her lover is married and celebrating the birth of his baby. Dominique is happily married, but lives in fear that her teenage daughter will also be lured by the easy money of the sex business.
The film starts with a nice scene: during a thunderstorm the three women bury a dead body, wrapped in plastic. But the effect of this dramatic start is wasted: the rest of the story seems to ignore the murder and only at the very end we learn the identity of the victim. It is as if the murder has been an afterthought, to add some spice to the story.
The film is by no means a murder mystery. It is a real life portrait of three struggling women. There's nothing wrong with that, but this film lacks the intensity needed to really impress.
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