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302 Ratings


Directed by Louise Carrin
Switzerland, 2015
Short, Documentary


Lisa, the brothel madam of the luxurious “Le Vénusia” in Geneva, and Lena, an artless prostitute as unpredictable as she is lazy, are filmed in the intimacy of a smoking room—where their relationship will combine tenderness and cruelty.

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Venusia Directed by Louise Carrin

Critics reviews

The prostitute Lena defies stereotypes, social hierarchy, and a client-centered work ethic, and the two women seem to perform themselves for themselves, each other and us with gusto while simultaneously navigating their complex economic and affective relationships. Even if work here is not ideal and business is declining, at least in this room, the women creatively negotiate their self-presentations.
December 06, 2016
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The Grand Prize was awarded to Venusia, a riveting portrait of two sex workers chatting in the break room. Though set in a brothel, their conversation, which unfolds over an unspecified period of time, deals far less with sex than the tedium of their work. Their concerns are exceedingly ordinary, though no less fascinating owing to the psychodynamics that unfold between a boss who wishes to both nurture and control her most trusted protégé.
June 07, 2016
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Most of this starts out in comedic territory, contrasting the taboo nature of their work with a cheerfully mundane patter… As money troubles pile up, the arc of the film moves towards a recession-era tragedy, with Madame Lisa’s place on the totem pole in jeopardy. It’s a credit to Venusia that this downbeat turn comes without patronizing, just as the comedy came without condescension. The women are survivors, like anyone else. Even without any tight close-ups, they fill up the frame.
May 06, 2016
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