• Golden Globe Awards

Working Girls (Belgium)

Working Girls, a film by Frédéric Fonteyne, explores the lives of three prostitutes, Axelle, Conso and Dominic, who work in a brothel just over the Belgian border. In the opening scene during a torrential downpour, the audience is immediately guessing who these three women are burying. Could it be the filthy boyfriend, the manipulative ex or the adolescent boy who pesters them with his salacious remarks on a daily basis, or the decrepit client who during his sexual climax accidentally dies of a heart attack?
In Working Girls, Fonteyne gives us clever insight into three absolute contrasting women brought together by fate and their profession. They are mothers or girlfriends, who secretly sell themselves in order to earn a living while finding time to joke about their clients, as well as showing the amount of suffering each endures from prejudice and sexism.
Sara Forestier, Annabelle In Lengronne and Noemie Lvosky, play the three leads and are enthralling. The movie is very skillfully shot by Juliette Van Dormael.
Frédéric Fonteyne wanted to give the observer a different look at prostitution. “When you watch TV, you get the impression that prostitution is everywhere, but it’s actually an invisible world, the brothel is a place where no one wants to go, and where no one is allowed in. What is life in the salon, where the girls are waiting for clients? The impression I got from these women, was that their lives are lived much more intensely. It’s an extremely hard job, that choice is a matter of survival, but their lives seem to be lived harder. They have to stay on top of life because if they were to genuinely connect to their raw profound emotions, they would crash,” he said.
The casting for the three lead actresses was crucial for the director: “As it was not possible to make our film with real prostitutes because one of them leads a double life and hides her vocation as a prostitute, so it was of the utmost importance for us to cast these incredible actresses who could creatively dig into their roles, feel the madness around their characters and find the dignity and power within to defend these women. So, we needed great actresses who would be able to explore the most extreme facets of what these women go through.”
Writer Anne Paulicevich, who collaborated closely with Fonteyne, dug into the world of prostitution thanks to Dodo La Brine, who arranged for me to have access to a particular brothel.
“I was introduced and able to meet the girls 2-3 times weekly for 9 months. I have never laughed as much as in the girls’ living room, though I must say there were also moments where I was emotionally charged by the stories they shared and those they didn’t.” 
Humor was an important element for both the writer and the director.
“It’s a film about superheroines not about prostitution,” concludes the director.
This is Fonteyne’s fifth feature film. Working Girls is Belgian’s official submission for the 2021 Golden Globes and Oscars.