Great controversy has been going one, since ‘Jeune et Jolie’ came out.
The amoral view of the director on prostitution and the rather positive experiences of Isabelle, the 17-years old teenager, has made people frown the eyebrows numerous times.
Some thought of the movie as ‘unacceptable’, and that François Ozon just visualized his ‘fantasy’.
Peter Bradshaw wrote about the film:
François Ozon’s new film is a luxurious fantasy of a young girl’s flowering: a very French and very male fantasy, like the pilot episode of the world’s classiest soap opera.
Well thank you, I’m a luxurious and very French male fantasy. And I’m real.
One commented on the announcement of ‘Jeune et Jolie’ in the Guardian:
I read a very good article the other day in The Guardian about the macho culture, sexism, male gratification and the complicity of males vis-à-vis the exploitation of young women….and how we accept this culture instead of rail against it. Is this film not a perfect example of all of the above? This is pure male fantasy. Why would women be interested in watching an adolescent girl (sorry, folks, but she’s only 17 years old, not officially an adult yet at 18) perform sex acts in hotel rooms with all sorts of different men? DOES NO-ONE FIND THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THIS FILM DISTURBING? And why would a film director want to make this kind of film?? I’m surprised at the lack of protest. Does anyone agree with me?
Well, dear commentator, I’m the first one to not agree with you, and I’m certainly not going to protest against it.
This is not a purely male fantasy. And I don’t think it’s disturbing .
It’s reality to some young women, as me.
Ok, I was one and half year older than her, but the storyline of the movie could me mine. I was curious to look for something new in life.
A more exciting activity, maybe a dangerous one…and by the way, very lucrative, even though I didn’t need the money.
I find it quite funny that this person talks about ‘the exploitation of young women’, while it’s very clear that the character had made this decision herself, and that no one was even close to force her into it. And what about the men paying her, are they not exploited then?
Ok, Isabelle was 17, that’s too young to be legal, but I wouldn’t call these men ‘predators’ or something like that. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but if she doesn’t mention her age, how could they know?
Speaking about myself, I don’t look very different from when I was 17.
Another, assumably female commentator responded, less pedantically, by saying she felt ‘uncomfortable’:
@Wannakeep: I see what you’re getting at and that was my reaction initially. I got quite uncomfortable for that very reason. But it goes well beyond male fantasy. And ito the realm of some quite uncomfortable “truths”. And we’re into Belle du Jour territory. Ozon asks why this young woman could possibly be interested in prostitution, and in a key scene with her psychiatrist, the central character starts to explain the kicks she gets out of it. The ‘grandmotherly’ seal of approval is also stamped onto the film when Rampling admits that she, too, dreamed of being paid for sex. It’s the uncomfortable hypothesis that some women who prostitute themselves for reasons other than money actually get a kick out of it. And back to Belle du Jour.
This comment at least made some sense to me, because I can image that other women, unlike myself, feel uneasy thinking of the idea that women sell sex for another reason than only a monetary one.
My feeling towards sex and prostitution are rather exceptional.
I loved to have sex in exchange of money, I could enjoy the sex itself at times, and I could genuinely enjoy the company of my client, without acting.
Anyway, you already guessed the essence:
François Ozon’s fantasy is REAL!