Life in the Slow Lane

April 30, 2009

‘Happy Hooker’ documentary not what one might expect

Filed under: Entertainment,Movies — pauljlane @ 2:33 pm

As far as artistic inspiration go, Xaviera Hollander presents about as broad and vibrant a muse as can be had.
The legendary call girl-turned-author could fill 50 films with her X-rated exploits alone, but documentarian Robert Dunlap chose not to focus solely on that part of her life.
That’s not to say that “Portrait of a Sexual Revolutionary” lacks for ribaldry, but as far as films about the author of the largely autobiographical best-seller “The Happy Hooker” go, this is about as sterile as the subject matter could be treated.
With Hollander narrating the 68-minute film, which will be shown during the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, the documentary goes all the way back to her infancy, which was spent in a Japanese concentration camp in southeast Asia (she and her family are of Jewish heritage).
After the war, the family returned to Holland, where she grew up (kinda) normally. She claimed the “Miss Tick” prize as Holland’s best secretary, then made her way to New York City, where she took a secretarial job that failed to offer much fulfillment.
Instead, as the title of her first book suggests, she took an unorthodox route to happiness. The film uses commentary from several of today’s leading experts and writers in the field to discuss the impact of “Happy Hooker” and the dozens of follow-up books (both fiction and fact) that came from Hollander.
Where such a field was considered beyond taboo in those days (her lawyer recalled his experiences negotiating his “first book deal in a … house of ill repute”), her work was considered a key part of the feminist movement that opened people’s minds on the subject.
The film takes the viewer up to present day, with Hollander happily pursuing her artistic endeavors back in the Netherlands — receiving inspiration the same way she inspired so many others during her life.
To be clear: This film is not for youngsters, due to subject matter and some of the imagery presented. But it’s the film’s inspiration that dictates the use of such material, and Dunlap does a masterful job of avoiding gratuitous footage or soundbites when it would have been ever-so-easy to go that way.
Whatever one might think about Hollander or her career choice, viewers of this film will leave the experience feeling as far away from dirty as possible.

IF YOU GO
• WHAT: Screening of “Portrait of a Sexual Revolutionary”
• WHEN: 9 p.m. May 7
• WHERE: Market Arcade Film & Arts Center, Main Street, Buffalo
• MORE INFORMATION: Visit buffaloniagarafilmfestival.com

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1 Comment »

  1. [...] Original post by pauljlane [...]

    Pingback by ‘Happy Hooker’ documentary not what one might expect | It´s Entertainment — April 30, 2009 @ 3:01 pm | Reply


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