When it comes to examining an industry as global as the sex trade, where does one even think to begin? That’s the question that daunted filmmaker Michael Glawogger when he began work on this 2011 film. In Whores’ Glory, this documentarian chose to examine sex work through the lenses of three separate countries, each with a distinct form of prostitution. Glawogger ventured to Thailand, Bangladesh, and Mexico to create intimate portraits of these women and their lives through film. Though the brightly lit Plexiglass boxes of Thailand might be a far cry from the brothel ghettos of Bangladesh, this poetic film reveals a universal truth shared by all these women.
2) American Courtesans (2013)If you want a sex-positive look at the world of high-end escorts, look no further than American Courtesans. Thanks to the compassionate perspective of executive producer and escort Kristen DiAngelo, this film manages to give these 11 women the decency society had previously denied them. Though their backgrounds may be diverse, this group of women is united by the shared experience of their vocation. Director James Johnson’s exemplary film contextualizes these women outside of the industry as their friends, family, and loved ones sit down to discuss the feelings about their profession.
3) Buying Sex (2013)Being a sex worker not only means navigating a complex society where you’re often demonized, but also trying to traverse an equally convoluted legal system. takes us inside Canada’s debate over prostitution laws and gives proponents on both side of the issue equal time to make their argument. To give the viewer a global perspective on legalized sex work, filmmakers Teresa MacInnes and Kent Maso ventured to Sweden and New Zealand to examine each country’s laws and hear from the women affected by them.
4) After Porn Ends (2012)While porn stars might have the undying devotion of fans and the lust of thousands of admirers, it’s not always what they crave most. Most only desire to find a sense of normalcy once the cameras stop rolling, but for many performers, life outside of the industry can be a tough road to traverse. Director Bryce Wagoner invited some of the industry’s most famous faces to sit down and talk candidly about the triumphs and challenges they’ve had since leaving the business.
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