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Review: Yo Puta–Whore (2004)

Director: | 87 minutes | | Actors: Daryl Hannah, , , , , Conrad Son, , ,

“Yo Puta” means nothing other than “I, whore.” Then you may be expecting a message that there is a whore in each of us. That is not what director Maria Lidon wants to tell the viewer. Perhaps the viewer gets the message that whores are also just people. In any case, “Yo Puta” offers a glimpse into the kitchen of the oldest profession in the world.

“Yo Puta” is a strange combination of a fiction feature and about real people. Journalist Elisabeth is working on a book about prostitution (fiction part). For this she meets various people in the profession (real interviews). We don’t get to see Elisabeth, we only hear her voice-over. Fiction is the life of Elisabeth’s neighbors: Adrianna and Rebecca. One has been working as a prostitute for years, the other is a young student who cannot pay her bills. This young virgin is not considering a side job as a waitress or on the assembly line. No, she decides to go soliciting. A very incredible development.

Elisabeth travels all over the world for her interviews. She talks to the handsome gigolo Javier, to the French luxury whore Charlotte and the almost sex addict Africa. They tell about how they feel during the act, how they took the step and about their dream for the future.
The film has been edited with great attention to detail. As in an MTV clip, it plays with changing sets and intermezzos. For example, we see different prostitutes in quick succession talking about their first experience in the trade and what the customers like. Throughout the film, short fragments recount the story of a young woman who is persuaded to pose naked for a pornographic photo series. In the first clip she says no, later she goes on stage and the photographer can let her experience what really good sex is. And then the story of the student Rebecca who quickly loses her limits. In short, “Yo Puta” wants to tell a lot. Too much actually. Because because of the different angles, the film loses its focus. The film makes crazy jumps to other subjects. Prostitution and pornography, for example, are shaved together, while these are two completely different things in the sex industry. And most of the interviewed whores have no negative experiences with their chosen profession. The exceptions are women from the former Eastern bloc. They are often forced and traded and have nowhere to go. The problem of forced prostitution and trafficking in women is only discussed for two minutes.

All of the whores interviewed in “Yo Puta” are beautiful, well-groomed women. A walk on the Amsterdam Red Light District learns that not all prostitutes are stunning. The interviews are beautifully staged: beautiful images, well-chosen locations, good perspective. A lust for the eye. But this raises the question: are these real, existing prostitutes or are they actors?

“Yo Puta” is not really earth-shattering. But perhaps we are not so easily impressed after the Oudkerk affair and the existence of the Amsterdam redlight district. Even the magazine Linda gives extensive attention to the subject “whores”. If “Pretty Woman” is the only association with the prostitute profession, then “Yo Puta” might open the eyes with a look behind the scenes of this industry.

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