Prostitution and France are indelibly linked, usually in a sort of faux joie de vivre. The great Hollywood musical Gigi is about young girl, played by Leslie Caron, who is trained as a courtesan, an upmarket prostitute basically. Albeit one who confines her activities to one ‘gentleman’ at a time.
Maurice Chevalier, playing an ageing old roué, opens and closes the film with ‘Thank Heaven For Little Girls’ which has become a Broadway standard. Think someone would have something to say about that these days.
So times change and Le Mouvement du Nid, which supports the victims of prostitution in France, has produced a new campaign – ‘Bad Pleasure’ – with McCann Paris, depicting sex with prostitutes as a singularly joyless business, one that only benefits the criminals who control it.
According to McCann Paris ECDs Riccardo Fregoso & Julien Chiapolini: “We know it’s a disturbing film, because it subjects the viewer to something he never experienced. We went behind the scenes with the cameras and showed the unbearable groans of pleasure of the prostitution criminal network.” France has just tightened its laws on prostitution.
France will see an international convention of happy/unhappy hookers when the Cannes Lions rolls into town in June. So this backstreet view of what is supposedly the world’s oldest profession maybe doesn’t tell the whole story.
But it’s a powerful film.
MAA creative scale: 7.