The Corner

Can We All Still Agree We Don’t Want to be France?

From the New York Times:

THE posters displayed in Paris Métro stations show a slim woman in her 50s in a cocktail dress, reclining on a leather sofa. Her hair is natural, her makeup understated, her smile satisfied. In the foreground, a man, his torso nude, slips two 100-euro notes into his pocket.

The posters were advertising “Cliente,” a popular movie that revolves around clichés about prostitution and gigolos in France. Judith, the client, who is played by Nathalie Baye, one of France’s highest-paid actresses, is not a pathetic, lifted rich woman of a certain age and nothing to do. Rather, she is a hard-charging, 51-year-old television shopping-channel anchor and director who, after her marriage falls apart, wants good sex without strings and is willing to pay handsomely for it.

For Josiane Balasko, 58, the director, author and actress (she plays Judith’s sister), the goals were twofold: to shatter a long-held taboo in France and to send a positive message to middle-aged women who find themselves alone and wanting sexual fulfillment.

“Prostitution is the last sexual territory owned by men,” she said in an interview. “Men are in control of pleasure and have the right to buy it. Women do not. A lot of my friends are alone, lonely, divorced. They can’t always reinvent themselves with another man and a new family. So I decided to show a female client of a male escort. She’s not a victim. She is a woman who is in control of her life, her feelings, her sexual pleasure.”

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