Based on a year of testimonial interviews with male sex workers who were remunerated for their participation, Jean’s Hommes à louer redefined the social issue documentary with this challenging feature. Almost all reviews of the documentary rightly called it “unflinching” in its focus on the traumas and challenges that have led the film’s 11 subjects to like a revolving door of addiction, stigma, and violence that keeps them in the sex trade. Social inequalities, family violence, and mental health issues come up as unifying themes in the participants’ stories, which occupy the screen without Jean resorting to cheap sentiment or the voyeurism typical of the subject of prostitution. Set in Montreal, with Jean’s signature unforgiving lighting and absence of voiceover, Men for Sale leaves the viewer with an uneasiness in our assumptions, judgments and privileges that make us complicit in the suffering of this caste.
Issues & Themes:
Best Medium Length or Feature Documentary at the International Francophone Film Festival in Acadie in 2009