Elles tells the story of a journalist – Juliette Binoche – who interviews two young female students about their lives as prostitutes. This is bound to be a controversial film because for one it deals with female sexuality and how these young women use their sexuality to survive. They made this choice but each time they meet a date there is always the fear factor attached. Binoche character develops a strong affinity for these young women and it bleeds into her family life where she lives with her husband and two sons. She becomes unnerved and starts losing her grip all the while she is in the midst of preparing a big dinner for her husband’s boss (the writer mentioned the reference to Mrs. Dalloway in the Q and A). This film pushes many buttons and what bothered me is that it made it seem like prostitution is one of the choices for your women today. It should have to be a choice for a woman to get an education, but the film said (and it was sparked by an article on student prostitutes) that this is the reality we live in.
Here’s my brief conversation with Polish director Malgoska Szumowska.