Streaming
  • June 25 (Friday) through July 8 (Thursday)
New Restoration

In viewing prostitution through the lens of labour, Borden boldly desensationalizes the subject, offering an empathetic, humanizing, often humorous depiction of women for whom this work is just another day at the office.”

Janus Films

Iconoclastic independent Lizzie Borden followed up her feminist landmark Born in Flames with this candid, stigma-squashing portrayal of sex work in 80s New York. Molly (Louise Smith), a queer college-educated photographer, supplements her income with a side gig as a sex worker. Over the course of one comically prolonged shift, we watch her perform the routines of a working girl” at an upscale Manhattan brothel. She clocks in, answers phones, chit-chats with co-workers, goes on supply runs, and transactionally rents her body to an assortment of male clients, each with a kink and level of comfort with the part-time escort. Borden, subversively shooting the picture like a Hollywood workplace comedy, eschews any trace of male-gazey titillation. Rather, she focuses on the banal—and distinctly unsexy—inner workings of the sex business: the economics, the housekeeping, the work-safe protocols, the dragging hours. In its relaxed, relatable, and non-judgemental treatment of the profession (the oldest, allegedly), Working Girls remains a progressive, vanguard film.

Advisory: Working Girls contains scenes of graphic nudity and simulated sex.

Recommended viewing … A true gem … Working Girls draws attention to a form of precarious work frequently overlooked by the public.”

Kelley Dong, MUBI Notebook
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