29 August 2005 | gradyharp
Camera Fetishes Focus on a Colorful Life
María Lidón directed 'Yo puta' ('The Life') based on material and story by Adela Ibañez and Isabel Pisano, tied in three established actors (Daryl Hannah, Denise Richards, and Joaquim de Almeida), and creative camera work (visual manipulations, frame freezing, etc) by Ricardo Aronovich - all with the apparent intent of explaining the etiologies and manifestations of the life of prostitutes. And while many viewers find the mélange of effects (real time interviews with fictional superimposed storyline) too edgy to digest, for this viewer Lidón succeeds in informing her audience about the motivations and insights from honest prostitutes, gigolos, and their pimps with a gracious style.
Searching for a format to tie these interviews together, the writers paired a fictional prostitute (Hannah) with an Anthropology student (Denise Richards) working on a book of interviews with prostitutes. Their roles are minor. Where the film succeeds is in the selection of interviewees - mostly Spanish (the film is from Spain), but including French, Eastern European, and other nationality women and men. The moments with these people are magical showing primarily the soft interior of most of the women who know precisely what they are doing and why: there are messages of survival and true courage as well as libidinous abandonment! There are rough spots in the film, extended moments that cry for editing, but the overall result is informative, creative and entertaining. Not for everyone perhaps, but for the curious and for those who enjoy experimental cinema this is a worthwhile film. Grady Harp