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Alexandra Bălteanu
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January 25, 2022
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Demystifying Sex Workers: Alexandra Balteanu’s ‘Vanatoare’

For your greatest pleasure (we hope), here is another movie recommendation. Because, like love, we will never run out of those. Enjoy! Although, warning: this one is not exactly a feel-good movie.

Today, we are taking a closer look at one cinema in particular: Romanian cinema. Not exactly the most well-known, the cinematographic heritage of this small European country has been on the rise over the last years.

More specifically, it is on the rise thanks to incredible women movie directors, who are coming back to Romania with a new, fresh eye. Among them, we can undoubtedly name Alexandra Bălteanu, a Romanian and German movie director. Let us have a look at this feminist wave in Romanian cinema!

Introducing Alexandra’s last success, ‘Vănătoare’ (literally, ‘hunting’), or ‘Prowl’ (2016). The movie follows three women as they go on with their day. Lidia, Denisa and Vanesa all have their own hopes and dreams, and problems to deal with. The camera gives us a glance at their everyday life, following them to their place of work, under the bridge.

There, a kind of competition seems to occur, as Vanesa, Lidia and Denisa offer oral sex to drivers passing under the bridge for 10 euros. Indeed, the three women are sex workers. And what we love about Alexandra’s piece is that it does not mystify, despise or fetishize sex workers.

The camera simply shows them as they are and does not try to take a moral stand; no effort is made to try and raise the audience’s sympathy towards them, adding pathos. Nor is there any moralization, trying to convince the audience that sex workers are bad people.

And honestly, yes, please, more movies like this! Sex workers are human beings, nothing less and nothing more. Sex work is work, like any other job. Also, might we add, we were a little bit tired of only ever seeing sex workers as dead or soon to be dead. Sex workers are not murder accessory.

Also, bonus point: the competition between the three women will soon turn into alliance, as they are forced to unite against one common enemy. Check out the trailer down below to find out more about it!

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