The blurb: Camelia, an escort with a troubled past, is newly employed at an erotic massage parlour in eastern Montreal. Met coldly by her competitive new colleagues, she struggles to establish a clientele while maintaining her dignity.

I wanted to include this short in the Film Festival partly because it treats sex work as work, not sensationalism. The massage parlour where Camelia works is competitive and her age works against her, as is the case in so many other industries. The film is also a captivating character study; Camelia isn’t a loveable subject but we empathise with her nonetheless. Actor Sandrine Bisson does an excellent job of conveying Camelia’s thoughts and emotions with very few words. The camerawork puts us into her shoes and creates a claustrophobic world within the corridors and rooms of the parlour.

Director Pier-Philippe Chevigny did a lot of research for this short film, interviewing performers, clients and parlour owners before writing the screenplay.

Sex work in Canada is partially criminalized under the “Swedish model” (more info here). Sex workers are opposed to this method of regulating sex work and call for decriminalization.

Length: 14:57
Director: Pier-Philippe Chevigny
Year: 2017