Dec 172023
 

A Woman in Flames (Die Flambierte Frau) is a 1983 German film about a woman who leaves her husband to become an escort.

Eva (Gudrun Landgrebe) is a housewife whose husband criticizes and disdains her. When he ignores her at the party she set up, Eva suddenly packs a bag and walks out.

After learning how to be an escort from a friend, Eva hooks up with Chris, a male escort who sees both men and women. He aspires to run a restaurant with an art gallery.

Eva moves in with Chris, and they become like a husband and wife who are both sex workers.

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Nov 022023
 

Walk All Over Me is a 2007 Canadian comedy/crime thriller.

Alberta, a young woman, flees a drug deal gone wrong in her small town. She arrives in Vancouver with only the clothes on her back and seeks out the only person she knows: her old babysitter, Celene.

Celene now works as a pro dominatrix, part of her “life plan” to become an actress. She reluctantly takes Alberta in. 

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Sep 262023
 

R100 is a 2013 Japanese absurdist comedy. A depressed man enters a contract to be assaulted by dominatrixes in random places at random times.

It starts off relatively realistically. Katayama is a depressed furniture salesman dealing with raising his young son while his wife has been in a coma for years. He visits a company known only as “Bondage”. The host has him sit on a merry-go-round and view dominatrixes. The offer is a one-year contract during which different dominatrixes will assault him unpredictably. Katayama agrees.

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Sep 172023
 

The Counterfeit Traitor is a 1962 spy thriller starring William Holden. I’m covering it solely for a couple of scenes.

Holden plays Eric Erickson, an apolitical American everyman living in neutral Sweden in the early days of WWII. Allied intelligence blackmails him into working as a spy in Nazi Germany. While slowly paced at the beginning, the tension picks up as Erickson sinks deeper into his cover and becomes entangled into the war whether he wants to or not.

Inevitably, Erickson’s cover is blown, and he has to depend on the resistance network to get him back to Sweden with vital intelligence. His backup contact is just a street address in Berlin. This turns out to be in the city’s red light district, with sex workers standing on the street or posing in windows.

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Aug 282023
 

Verfolgt, also released as Hounded or Punish Me, is a 2006 German drama directed by Angelina Maccarone

As I’ve pointed out before, female dominants who aren’t sex workers are almost invisible in popular culture. Verfolgt is one of the rare examples of a dominant woman who is not in part motivated by money. Elsa, a youth probation officer, has an obsessive, sadomasochistic affair with Jan, a young offender fresh out of juvenile detention.

Elsa Siefert (Maren Kroymann) is in her 50s, and looks like it. You can see her wrinkles and soft belly. She does wear a black leather coat and shoes, which hint at her interests. Early in the film, her daughter moves away, and her relationship with her husband, Raimar, has begun to sour. She resents his past infidelity. The loss of her roles as wife and mother has left her adrift.

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Aug 142023
 

L-R: Josef von Sternberg, Marlene Dietrich, on set

Dishonored is a 1931 spy thriller directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring Marlene Dietrich as Marie Kolverer, aka “X-29”.

Set in during the First World War and loosely based on the life of historical spy Mata Hari, this is the third of seven collaborations between director von Sternberg and star Dietrich, following The Blue Angel (1930) and Morocco (1930). Dietrich usually played remote, independent and seductive women in these films.

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Aug 082023
 

Nymphomaniac Volume 2 is the second part of notorious director Lars von Trier’s 2013 film about a woman with sexual compulsion.

The framing story is that Seligman, an elderly academic, finds a beaten women in an alley near his apartment, and takes her home. She says her name is Joe, and when Seligman asks her how she ended up in his alley, she says she would have to tell him her entire life story. Over one night, Joe tells Seligman her biography in search of sexual pleasure, with frequent asides from both of them on topics ranging from techniques of fly fishing to the history of religious art. This dialog also acts as a kind of trial, with Joe prosecuting herself as a bad person who deserved her mistreatment, and Seligman defending her decisions and her worth as a person.

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May 262023
 

NYPD Blue S04E13 “Tom and Geri”, aired January 28, 1997

Geri, a police administrative assistant, has had an un-returned crush on Detective Andy Sipowicz. (In a previous episode, S04E06, she told him she was wearing rubber underwear.) The B story of this episode is that Geri tells Sipowicz that a friend she knows, Tom, has died in bondage gear in his apartment. Sipowicz, who wants nothing to do with Geri, hands it off to his superior, who in turn delegates it to a pair of female detectives, Russell and Kirkendall. Even at this stage, Geri seems distrustful of everyone.

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