This French film transcends its 1900 context. A polemical insight into the legislative dehumanisation of prostitutes that does nothing to protect their human rights, only to vilify them as second-class citizens and leave many open to non-consensual abuse. Legalise, regulate and establish worker's rights for sex workers, rather than criminalise the industry, pushing it further underground.
Strange piece. There seems to be a tension (or not a tension, but a subtle conflict, or a latent contrast) between a celebratory aesthetic and a somber social critique. The aesthetic has something of the decadent toulouse-lautrecian love of bohemian ways. The critique is quite subtle and refined. It's not a direct message. This is like a living painting, done in sensual strokes and colors, allowing the eyes to drift.
Visually stunning. It mirrors the beginning of decadence brought about by the 20th century. As the whole movie goes indoors, it's interesting to see how the outside world affects their lives through sex role playing (which deals with the objectification of people), safety issues and economics changes. There's an interesting dreamlike atmosphere through out the narrative.