Here are my impressions of the film from the Toronto Film Festival. The film opens in NY and LA today with a nationwide release it follow.
Elles written by Tine Byrckel and Malgoska Szumowska and directed by Szumowska tells the story of a journalist – Juliette Binoche – who interviews several 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 depressed me is that it made it seem like prostitution is an ok choice for your women today. Women should not have to sell their bodies to pay for an education. But what the film illustrates — and it was based on an article written by a young woman prostitute — this is the reality these young live in.
Here’s my brief conversation with Polish director Malgoska Szumowska.