Quite a gem of a film it is, Student Services(Mes chères études in French) is a film about a French student named Laura who, in order to make ends meet, becomes a prostitute. Initially vowing to do it only once, Laura begins a spiral toward self-destruction, no self-respect, and regret for the things she has done. It is a beautiful film, and offers a rather dark insight into the drive behind prostitutes(as well as strippers and other erotic positions for woman). It is not a film for the light-hearted.
The tone of the film is downright dark in parts of the film, and a bit comical/light-hearted in other parts. By this method, I suppose I would describe it as the ‘heavy-hitter tactic’.
- The ‘heavy-hitter’ tactic is where the film is a type of insight or dive into the background of a place, time, or idea(including completely fictional topics). While the general feel of the film can be on the more light-hearted/comical side, there are extremely emotional/intense moments and scenes in the film that throw off the lightheartedness, and completely burrow itself into a dramatic/dark regions of the art. One notable film to use this tactic is Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.
What I really admire about the film is the way the protagonist adapts and evolves. In the beginning, we see her as a regretful and innocent woman who simply must do this for money. Later on though, its hinted that she believes this is now her ‘job’, and she does not admit that being a prostitute is an issue. Through Benjamin, her boyfriend and later her ex, she realizes of what she is becoming, and has an incredibly tough time not only admitting it to herself, but changing her life.
The film ends on a good note, and in the end, Laura realizes of what it means to be a woman who is a prostitute and why some women do it. It is even hinted that she continued to be a prostitute occasionally even when she changed her ways. Some would say she is slightly disturbed at the loss of innocence and dignity she had to go through, while others would say they wouldn’t blame her.
The film shines light on a subject that, while the general public believe its a simple and direct topic, is actually very complex and is not always recognized for its cost in self-preservation and respect. Through Laura, we see the pain and hardship a prostitute must endure, and as such, not everyone can understand that for themselves or fully comprehend what the consequences might be.