USA | 1986 | 93 minutes | 18A
This November, We Really Like Her! co-hosts Emily and Danita invite you to spend a night with a groundbreaking entry in the sex work cinema canon, Lizzie Borden’s Working Girls (1986).
Not to be confused with the Mike Nichols movie starring Melanie Griffith, this independently produced feature film was co-written, directed and produced by Borden. A follow-up to her radically intersectional dystopian drama Born in Flames (1983), Working Girls is a frank, funny and sometimes frightening look at a day in the life of Molly (Louise Smith), a queer New Yorker who makes rent taking shifts at a private brothel.
Daring to suggest that sex work can be as monotonous as any old office gig while also recognizing its unique risks, Borden offers an intimate look at a profession that we so often refuse to talk about. She actually prefers to call the film “narrative fiction” as it is based on real stories shared by women (some of which appear in Born in Flames) in the biz. She would go on to further explore this topic in her book Whorephobia: Strippers on Art, Work, and Life.
Winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 1987 Sundance Film Festival, Working Girls is as significant now as it was in its day. In fact, in a culture where capitalism reigns supreme and conservatism is on the rise, it may be more important than ever.
Director: Lizzie Borden
Cast: Louise Smith, Liz Caldwell, Marusia Zach
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