The discussions around "Lovemobil" (DE 2019; R: Elke Lehrenkrauss) the documentary which was awarded several prizes at international film festivals in 2019 and 2020 and exposed as a "fake" in 2021 has rekindled the interest in films that deal with the topic of sex work and sex workers.
As a matter of fact, the filmic exploration of sex work rises a number of questions that are not only relevant to this particular field of work, but to documentary film in general. At the same time, many of these issues become even more pertinent when they are discussed with regard to professions and practices that were and still are subjected to dscrimination, stigmatization, disregard and social contempt.
In the context of this seminar, which will be continued in the summer semester 2022 to take a closer look at the representation of sex work in fiction film, we will discuss issues like
- Access: how do the filmmakers approach places, locales, practices and prospective protagonists?
- Attitude: how do the respective documentaries regard, address, and present the subject(s) of their investigations?
- Power: which power structures can be identified both within and outside the filmic representation? - How does power translate into specific ways or acts of looking? - And vice versa: how and to what extent can looking become an expression of power?
- Positions: what are the positions assigned by the filmmakers, both to o themselves and their team and to the protagonists and other 'characters' in their film?
- Mise en scène: how are places, protagonists, encounters, procedures staged and filmed? Which are the codes, visueal references and iconographies that can be identified in the respective films?
- Storytelling: which narrative on sex work and sex workers is proposed by the respective film? - Is there a narrative at all (and if not: what does the film offer in lieu of narrative)? - And which are the models, modes, patterns and premises that have shaped the narrative and the story, and how do they interact with the mise en scène?