The Celluloid Bordello - Feature
The Celluloid Bordello at Cleveland Cinematheque • 1h 25m
Since the dawn of cinema, sex workers have served as muses to movie-makers. From white slavery pictures (The Girl Who Went Astray, from 1900), to iconic rom-coms (Pretty Woman) and indie hits (Tangerine), hookers, hustlers, call girls, street walkers and strippers have been staples of the silver screen. Cinematic sex workers are punchlines, cautionary tales or fantasy figures. They are brutalized, killed off, sometimes rescued and almost always represented as if no sex worker is in theater. Even in recent documentaries such as Born Into Brothels or Tricked, reality is distorted by filmmakers (almost always non-sex workers), who are determined to show trauma, violence and pathos rather than the resilience, successes, and thriving communities that are the norm for many sex workers. The Celluloid Bordello brings sex workers to the theater. With equal parts historical overview, critique, and homage, this eye-opening film lets real life dommes, escorts, porn stars and hustlers tell you which films they love and which they hate, which get it right and which miss the mark, and, most importantly, how perpetuating stereotypes in media affects real peoples' lives.