Ahead of a confirmed release on the Criterion Collection this July, the new restoration of Lizzie Borden’s acclaimed 1987 Sundance winner Working Girls will get a theatrical run courtesy of Janus Films. Inspired by the experiences of sex workers Borden met while making her landmark docu-style film Born in Flames, Working Girls takes place over a day in a Manhattan brothel as we witness the ins and outs of the profession. In advance of the restoration’s theatrical run starting on June 18, a new trailer has now arrived.
“When I started Working Girls, I wanted to begin with a whole different aesthetic that had to do with telling a story very simply,” Borden told Feminist Studies. “I didn’t want to make a voyeuristic film, but I wanted to create curiosity in the viewer, almost voyeurism, about what it’s actually like to be in a house of prostitution.” She went on to say to Cineaste, “I wanted to place prostitution solidly in the context of work as opposed to sex, since for prostitutes it is not about sex at all. Prostitution is a business transaction, pure and simple, between prostitute and john.”
Watch the trailer below.
Sex work is portrayed with radical nonjudgment in Lizzie Borden’s immersive, richly detailed look at the rhythms and rituals of society’s most stigmatized profession. Inspired by the experiences of the sex workers Borden met while making her underground feminist landmark Born in Flames, Working Girls reveals the textures of a day in the life of Molly (Louise Smith), a photographer working part-time in a Manhattan brothel, as she juggles a steady stream of clients, balances relationships with her coworkers with the demands of an ambitious madam, and above all fights to maintain her sense of self in a business in which the line between the personal and the professional is all too easily blurred. In viewing prostitution through the lens of labor, Borden boldly desensationalizes the subject, offering an empathetic, humanizing, often humorous depiction of women for whom this work is just another day at the office.
Working Girls opens on June 18 at IFC Center and will expand.