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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Lizzie Borden
USA 1986

 

Lizzie Borden’s radical, detailed portrayal of the daily lives of sex workers. A humanizing depiction of women for whom this work is just another day at the office Sex work is portrayed with radical nonjudgment in Lizzie Borden’s immersive, richly detailed look at the rhythms and rituals of society’s most stigmatized profession. Inspired by the experiences of the sex workers Borden met while making her underground feminist landmark Born in Flames, Working Girls reveals the textures of a day in the life of Molly (Louise Smith), a photographer working part-time in a Manhattan brothel, as she juggles a steady stream of clients, balances nurturing relationships with her coworkers with the demands of an ambitious madam, and above all fights to maintain her sense of self in a business in which the line between the personal and the professional is all too easily blurred. In viewing prostitution through the lens of labor, Borden boldly desensationalizes the subject, offering an empathetic, humanizing, often humorous depiction of women for whom this work is just another day at the office.

***

Lizzie Borden takes an axe to the Hollywood image of the prostitute. Focusing on Molly (Smith), a college girl who's trying to make some cash, prostitution is viewed as an economic alternative, another business in the world's financial capital. The overriding unsung leitmotif is that of a procession (of clients, rituals, preparations); the cold reality of Borden's vision is reminiscent of Frederick Wiseman's examinations of American institutions.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 28th, 1986 (Cannes Film Festival)

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion Spine #1087 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:33:29.353        
Video

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,822,681,228 bytes

Feature: 28,122,710,016 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.70 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,822,681,228 bytes

Feature: 28,122,710,016 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.70 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio commentary featuring Borden, cast and crew
New conversation between Borden and filmmaker Bette Gordon (21:20)
New conversation with actors and the first assistant director (22:12)
New conversation with sex workers (26:09)

An essay by author So Mayer and excerpts from a 1987 interview with Borden by film critic Scott MacDonald


Blu-ray Release Date:
July 13th, 2021
 Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 17

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion Blu-ray (July 2021): Criterion have transferred Lizzie Borden's Working Girls to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Lizzie Borden". It was shot on 'Super 16' blown up to 35mm. The pragmatic production roots are visible in a grainy, less crisp, but pleasing textured 1080P image. Colors carry a richness and the video presentation is housed on a dual-layered disc with a maxed out bitrate. The BD produces a consistent image that reflects the 1.66:1 original theatrical appearance extremely well. 

NOTE: We have added 50 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Criterion use a linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. It is authentically flat, and consistent, with a score by David Van Tieghem (No Telling), sounding subtle in the background. Criterion offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Criterion Blu-ray offers the audio commentary by director Lizzie Borden, director of photography Judy Irola, and actor Amanda Goodwin recorded in 2007. There is a 2021 conversation, recorded remotely in Los Angeles and New York, with director Lizzie Borden who talks with her friend the director Bette Gordon about the making of Working Girls. It runs over 20-minutes. We also get a new (2021) conversation with actors Louise Smith and Amanda Goodwin; producer Andi Gladstone; and first assistant director Vicky Funari talking about their experiences making Working Girls. It was recorded remotely by the Criterion Collection and runs 22-minutes. Lastly, is a new conversation, also recorded remotely for the Criterion Collection in New York and Los Angeles, with sex workers Jo Weldon, Antonia Crane, Selena the Stripper, and Daphne who talk about how Working Girls reflects their experiences in the sex industry. The package has liner notes with an essay by author So Mayer and excerpts from a 1987 interview with Borden by film critic Scott MacDonald.

Lizzie Borden's Working Girls is almost vérité in its depiction of the subject of sanitized prostitution. It has a 'backstage' feel approaching documentary status. It carries some of the themes of Borden's earlier, and first film, 1983's Born in Flames as a documentary-style feminist fiction exploring racism and sexism. I was interested to see Working Girls and there was no better way than Criterion's Blu-ray with the older commentary and an hour's worth of new interviews as supplements. Recommended.

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion Spine #1087 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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