Monday, May 18, 2009


The Girlfriend Experience

The Girlfriend Experience After the four hour long epic "Che: Part One" and "Che: Part Two", Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh's following project is a much shorter film "The Girlfriend Experience" (USA 2009, 77 min.), staring adult film star Sasha Grey.

The film is set at present time, when the economy melts down deep into the recession. 21-year-old Chelsea (Sasha Grey) and her boyfriend Chris (Chris Santos) also feel the pinch in their own businesses, besides they hear about the economy constantly from their clients. Chelsea is a high-class escort making $2000 per hour, and Chris is a personal trainer at a local gym making $125 per hour. Chelsea records every detail about her service because she is also writing a book. When a Chelsea's client evokes her feeling and compromises her emotional detachment, both Chelsea and Chris must face the new challenge in dealing with their relationship, besides the economy meltdown.

Although Sasha Grey has stared in more than 80 adult films, this is her feature debut in a non-porn film, and her performance is quite impressive, considering her character is no match in sophistication to her hourly rate.

Sasha Grey in THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, a Magnolia Pictures Release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

The film's cinematography is beautifully to watch, and it tends to draw more attention from the audience than the babblings from film's characters. Even they really talk a lot in the film, very few conversations seem sincere and meaningful. Sometimes, as if they are reciting from some newspaper articles to fill the emotion void during the "business transactions." Perhaps that's the reality when intimacy is based on money and payment. No soul or humanity can be found in these characters, or maybe they were buried too deep under cash to be noticed.

Like many personal trainers, Chris is a big talker and persuasive when he tries to sell something. However, when he sits down at home with Chelsea, he sounds like a shrink. It's totally understandable—It must be mind-boggling to have a girlfriend who is an escort. That's some "girlfriend experience."

"The Girlfriend Experience" opens Friday, May 22 at Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema in San Francisco, Shattuck in Berkeley, Piedmont Theatre in Oakland, Aquarius Theatre in Palo Alto, and Nickelodeon Santa Cruz. It opens on May 29 at Camera 3 in San Jose.

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