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BROKEN MIRRORS

Netherlands, 1984 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Marleen Gorris

Night. A car on an embankment. It stops, a man gets out, and opens the boot He lifts out the body of a woman, takes a polaroid snap of it and rolls it down the embankment.

It's early morning at the "Happy House" sex club. The charlady is cleaning up after the night before. Ellen, the Madame, arrives, then the boss, then Fred the bouncer. One by one the prostitutes arrive. Dora is the first. She's qualified at art school but went in for prostitution because she couldn't live from her art work .Then comes Irma, pretty, good-natured if not too bright, Tessa, a shy Surinamese girl and not much in demand, Francine, a hard and successful whore, Linda with her regular suicide attempts, Jacky, an elegant, somewhat mysterious English vamp. Ellen, the Madame, has her club right under her thumb; she sits at reception, takes the money and sees to it that there's a good atmosphere, settling the occasional squabbles that break out among the girls. Ellen hears from Dora that a new girl is coming today, Diane. It seems like any other day in the club.

But appearances are deceptive. The next few nights and days will show how insecure the lives of these girls really are, how dangerous their job is, how brutal the clients they "make love" with can be. But it's not only the girls from the "Happy House" who're on the receiving end of this violence; there's the housewife Bea too, who lives on the outskirts of Amsterdam. One night on the way home from her evening class she's attacked by a stranger, beaten unconscious - and bundled into the boot of his car.

Bea's fate somehow seems to be interwoven with that of the girls.

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