Venus Spirit in January, from Vice to Virtue
A list of two series and three films exploring the endless tension between desire, exploitation, sex and morality we find in all works blatantly addressing the theme of female prostitution. Under close scrutiny, we may perceive the spirit of Venus incarnate in each of them… three months before April. The titles chosen are listed in no particular order.
Harlots is a period drama television series set in 18th century London, Samantha Morton stars as Margaret Wells, a brothel owner and mother to two daughters, Charlotte and Lucy. When Margaret’s business is attacked by Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), a ruthless rival madam, a war breaks out over the city’s most profitable commercial activity — sex. Margaret is determined to fight back and protect her business, even if it puts everything else at risk, including her family. Creators Moira Buffini and Alison Newman also serve as executive producers.
Black Girl in Paris is a short drama written and directed by Kiandra Parks, inspired by the eponym novel of Shay Youngblood. When a down on her luck aspiring writer runs out of money after moving to Paris, she meets a street-smart prostitute who takes her on a whirlwind adventure of passion, self-discovery and uninhibited sexual freedom.
The Girlfriend Experience is an American anthology drama television series created, written, and directed by Lodge Kerrigan & Amy Seimetz for Starz. The second season features two parallel storylines. One storyline, set in Washington, D.C., takes place during the upcoming U.S. midterm elections and follows Erica Myles, a finance director of a Republican super PAC, and Anna Garner, a GFE provider. Under intense pressure to deliver on her fundraising goals, Erica enlists Anna’s help in blackmailing a high-powered dark money fundraiser. In the other storyline, set in New Mexico, it follows Bria Jones, a former high-end escort who enters the Witness Protection Program with her estranged thirteen-year-old step-daughter to escape an abusive relationship. However, she revives her career as an escort, which threatens Bria’s new identity and well-being of her step-daughter and the U.S. Marshal put in charge of her.
Toy is an American drama written by Patrick Chapman and Andrew Hanson. Young L.A. artist, Chloe, hires prostitutes to pose nude and talk openly about their lives while she films them for her new art project. She falls for one of them, the elegant 40-something Kat. The two begin a tragic passionate affair. The main characters are portrayed by Briana Evigan and Kerry Norton.
Concussion is a drama written and directed by Stacie Passon. Abby lives with her lesbian domestic partner and their young son. However, Abby and her girl’s long stable relationship has become passionless, and Abby is slowly becoming sexually frustrated. Abby’s son hits her on the head by accident one day with his baseball and she suffers a mild concussion. This gets her thinking and she decides that she shouldn’t repress her urges anymore. She hooks up with a young cute gentle and experienced lesbian prostitute, who sleeps with lonely women, and has a fantastic sexual and emotional experience. She becomes fascinated with the idea of helping other lonely women feel such joy and fulfillment, so she decides to get into the business herself under the pseudonym Eleanor. Her clients are both introverted women, who wish to explore their urges, and sexually aggressive women who know exactly what they and even Abby want. She learns more about herself and others after each sexual encounter. But how long can she live a double life before she’s caught. The main character is portrayed by Robin Weigert.