In competition at the Carbonia Film Festival 2020, Working Girls tells the story of three women united in difficulties and willing to fight for their dignity.
The common thread that unites the films of the Carbonia Film Festival, running from 6 to 11 October, is a reflection on migration and work. In Working Girls there is a character who comes from afar and there is a border that is crossed on weekdays: the border between France and Belgium.
Working Girls is the fifth feature film by Frédéric Fonteyne, who directed it together with Anne Paulicevich and that in 1999 had enchanted the Venice Film Festival, and beyond, with A private relationship, with Nathalie Baye e Sergi lopez. Lopez he is also among the secondary interpreters of Working Girls, which sees protagonists Sara Forestier, Noémie Lvovsky e Annabelle lengronne.
It starts at night Working Girls, with three female figures painstakingly trying to get rid of a corpse by burying it. Beware, however, the film is not a thriller, but the chronicle of the daily life of three women who lead a double life, because, unbeknownst to (almost) everyone, from the city of Roubaix they go to Belgium to work in a brothel, a squalid, unadorned pleasure house with an adjoining night club that is run by a hag with a thick blonde hair whose face we never see framed. For customers, who have names or backs left, Axelle, Dominique e Conso they become Athena, Circe e Hera, figures of ancient mythology ready to give joy and dreams to men of the most diverse tastes. The “working girls” wear wigs, cheap underwear and feathers and, more than emphasizing their despair, Fonteyne and the Paulicevich they insist on their dignity. The three protagonists of Working Girls, who unite against those who, in turn, harm them. As if they were super heroines, Axelle, Dominique e Conso they do not hesitate to hit or to resort to weapons.
Working Girls tells the same story from three different points of view, which are those of the main characters. It starts with Athena who has to face her aggressive and eager ex-husband, she continues with Conso that she fell in love with the wrong man and ends up with Dominique who declares hostilities open with his teenage and rebellious daughter. The film goes back but also goes forward and never gives in to despair, exacerbated realism and denunciation as an end in itself. Athena, Circe e Hera they are painful but they also know how to laugh, and taste, and talk about their work experiences making fun of customers. They have desires, hopes, and two of them have children to look after. On the big stage of life, they play a well-known role: that of women who are divided between work and family and who pull the cart. Their strength lies in their sisterhood, the only beacon in a very dark night in which shady figures and idle or abusive husbands roam. Relying on a screenplay written by herself Anne Paulicevich, the film also finds a way to talk about violence against women, who are bored here. Will their little revolution bear fruit? Difficult to say, given that they move in a world where parents and children communicate little and life has become survival.
Working Girls is available for free online on the festival’s streaming platform throughout the country at the online address carboniafilmfest.org. It will be possible to see it from 7 to 9 October.