|En la Puta Vida (Tricky Life) (2001)
||[Jul. 14th, 2008|06:41 pm]
Spanish Language Films
|||||Enanitos Verdes- Lamento Boliavano||]|
Director: Beatriz Flores Silva
Starring: Mariana Santángelo, Silvestre
En la Puta Vida (Tricky Life) revolves around a prostitute, Elisa, played by Marianna Santangelo, who has two sons and dreams of one day opening a beauty salon on one of Montevideo’s trendy streets. After working as a local prostitute and failing to convince her latest lover to leave his wife for her, she meets what appears to be a wealthy, charming, and handsome man named Placido. Elisa is promised an opportunity to work in Spain as a prostitute that will give her enough money for her to come back home and open up her beauty salon.
This is a film in a long line of films that have dealt with the topic of prostitution, which in my opinion is a difficult topic to dealt with in film, and not just merely as a result of its controversial nature, but rather because it is often the case that films fail to grasp the complexity of the issue. At times, there have been films that have romanticized the world’s oldest profession, while others have provided melodramatic tragic accounts which seem overwhelming.
In this regard, Tricky Life isn’t a perfect film because it falls into the cliché of having a prostitute with a heart of gold. Elisa works well in her profession, and has obvious sexual romantic issues, but takes care of her two sons and wants an honest profession. At the same time, Santangelo’s performance is convincing, which makes the film into something much more than a simple story about a prostitute trying to do good. Furthermore, the film is adressing the reality of an international ring in Spain in which South American women are lured into prostitution and end up forced into what has often been referred to as ‘white slavery.’ In the film, Elisa quickly realizes the nature of the Spanish ‘job’ that she has been given, and the movie quickly loses the humor and somewhat carefree attitude that is present in the first half. This sudden switch, in my opinion, makes the film and gives the film its realism, since it shows how women often get lured to vicious prostitution rings not just out of tragic desperation, but rather as a consequence of bright eyed optimism and naïveté.
All in all, I thought that this film was worthwhile and is for the most part successful in showing the complexities of prostitution, and especially of one specific prostitute, Elsa. While the film does a very good job in developing the character of Elsa, the film often fails to truly develop the other prostitutes that are part of the prostitution ring in Spain, which might have been intentional on the director’s part to show how prostitutes often just become people who come out at night without a name or story to tell.
I enjoyed watching this film, was moved by Santangelo’s performance, and would recommend the film for someone interesting in films dealing with the topic of prostitution and the manner in which men such as Placido find ways to lure women into that lifestyle.