Movies About Sex Work That Don't Sugarcoat Anything

Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

If you’ve never heard of this film, you’re not alone — but film cognoscenti who took part in last year’s prestigious Sight and Sound poll declared it the greatest film of all time. You can decide for yourself next time you have three hours and twenty-one minutes to spare, because that’s the runtime of this French film, made by Chantal Akerman when she was just 25, about a widowed single mother who supports her son by entertaining male clients in her humble apartment.

Whether its the best movie ever made is up for debate (among those who’ve actually seen it, at least) but it’s one of the most remarkable movies about prostitution in the way it presents it, nearly 50 years ago, as just another job.

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