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Elles


 

Elles

Anne (Juliette Binoche) is a Paris journalist researching a magazine piece about student prostitutes.  As two of her subjects talk about their sexual experiences—which are shown in graphic interludes—her maternal concern for the young women gives way to envy, and Anne’s frustration with her role as wife and mother in a bourgeois household comes to a head. Binoche, an actress who is embracing middle age with mounting ferocity, is extraordinary in the role, as are the young actresses who play her subjects. Polish filmmaker Malgoska Szumowska directs with seamless verité, cutting between Anne’s world of domestic alienation and the prostitutes’ life of free-spirited transgression. Based on a documentary, the film doesn’t glamorize prostitution, but it does depart from the usual moral clichés by focusing on a generation of self-employed young hookers who claim to enjoy their work—they cast their tricks, only choosing men they find minimally attractive. Their issues have more to do with their role as outcasts, from their family, from society—and from the very world of bourgeois respect that Anne finds so oppressive. This is a bold, eloquent,  ground-breaking adventure in third-wave feminist filmmaking, infused with an astute cinematic  style grounded in Bunuel and Godard.


 
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