Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Movies: Elles

There are not many controversial topics which are  discussed as much as the subject of prostitution. The french movie "Elle" (imdb) deals with this issue in an open minded and unbiased way.

The film shows some days in the life of an acclaimed middle-aged female journalist who has been writing then an elaborate article about the life of some student prostitutes in Paris for the prestigious magazine "Elle". She is leading very long interviews with 2 sex professionals about their life and profession. Some of these episodes are shown as flashbacks.

Director Malgorzata Szumowska, who also co-wrote the script, doesn`t follow the mainstream opinion that prostitution is a vice or that prostitutes are exploited by men. The 2 call girls shown in the movie work as upper level escort services. They are young, pretty, have a lot of aplomb and seem to enjoy the wealth and economic freedom their profession provides for them.

One of the girls claims that what she does with her clients doesn`t differ much from what she does with her boyfriend. The other compares prostitution to smoking – an addiction with benefits that are hard to give up. Some of their clients are pathetic and have disgusting demands. But these girls don`t seem to mind.

Juliette Binoche, who plays the journalist, is persuading as usual. Besides her job as journalist her character is a housewife with 2 spoiled sons plus a workaholic husband and is ignored by them all. The interviews seem to challenge and to question her own repressed life.

The sporadic sex scenes aren`t suitable family entertainment but they aren`t real. By far, the movie isn`t as explicit as some flicks from Larry Clerk (Ken Park), Michael Winterbottom (9 Songs) and Gaspar Noé (Irreversible). "Elle" is more of an analytical study than an entertaining movie.

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