It’s known as the world’s oldest profession, and humanity has had plenty of time to come up with differing views on the moral and social implications of prostitution. Maybe you think it’s morally outrageous, but disagree on who’s responsible. Or perhaps you view prostitutes as the original embodiment of girl power – proto-feminist rebels who cast social expectations to the wind and live unapologetically on their own terms. But any way you look at it, what about the actual lives of the women and men who dedicate themselves to this ancient oficio? How do they deal with intimacy, partnership, and the inevitable emotional toll of their jobs?
With her latest documentary, Plaza de la Soledad, Mexican filmmaker Maya Goded has set out to give us a window into lives of five Mexico City sex workers who embody the human complexity of the sex trade in a world where men still set the terms. Ranging in age from 50 to 80 years old, these women show tremendous resilience and character despite the very real toll of their job, yet still yearn for companionship and security. Trained as a still photographer, Goded brings a sensitive eye to the physicality her subjects – women whose primary currency is their bodies – while allowing them to address the camera on their own terms.
The short clip from the documentary, which will have its premiere later this month as part of the Sundance Film Festival, shows us two female prostitutes who have found intimacy and companionship in one another despite their day jobs pleasuring men. As they relate the discovery of their love, we see images of them working the plaza around Mexico City’s La Merced in black miniskirts. We are then shown another co-worker who presumably prepares for a long night working the streets as she reflects on the time she was paid to dress a police officer as a woman in a nearby hotel room.
Festivalgoers in Park City will have ample opportunity to see Plaza de la Soledad between January 24-29, while the rest of us will have to wait and see if this promising doc makes it to a theater near us.