Monday, 30 January 2012

"War Whores"

FYC: "War Whores" - Yu Hyun-mok's moving account of the rise and fall of a Parisian sex worker during World War 1, and her repeatedly shattered dream of merely being abused and exploited for the sexual gratification of unpleasant men, like the rest of the prostitutes, instead of being literally and figuratively fucked with a sinister ulterior motive. All the while her little brother follows her through France, desperately trying to rescue her from the horrors of prositution and war.

First she is used to settle a dispute between her father and the town pimp, and once she has escaped his clutches and found a life of courtesanship in Paris, she finds herself enveloped in the intrigues of the French political scene whilst working at Le Chabanais. Then she is purchased by the invading German generals, upon whom, for patriotic reasons, she spies, aiding the British with intelligence on troop mvements.

She soon becomes aware of 'troop movements' of a different sort when the British renege on their deal of repatriating her and setting her up with a new life, and she is reduced to being a street walker near the front. There she contracts syphillis, but still manages to find employment as a walking disease-bag for British and American serviceman who wish to incapacitate themselves from action and be sent home on medical leave.

The film climaxes when she unwittingly sleeps with her brother for a pair of nylons, and out of shame they enter a suicide pact. As they kill themselves on the day of the liberation of France the radio plays La Marseillaise and the camera zooms in slowly on an American propaganda poster emblazoned with the slogan: “You wouldn’t use another fellow’s tooth-brush, so why use his whore?”. The ultimate date movie.

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