Prostitution is still a taboo topic in society, and people who are engaged in the oldest job in the world (to use that worn-out derivative) are usually seen as some social outcasts, people from the edge of society, marked outcasts, and I assume that no one would want their child to dedicate to that profession. For this reason, the film by the French filmmaker Cecile Ducrocq is more interesting because we get to know the main protagonist, the 40-year-old prostitute from Strasbourg Marie Kriegel (another nomination for the French actress of the year for Laure Calamy) as a woman and mother with the same problems as people dealing with any with another, “normal” job. It’s not like I know what the situation is with prostitution in France and whether it’s legalized or still criminalized or something in between, but it’s obvious that Marie has been involved in this trade for some time.
She lives with her teenage son Adrien, who has just been kicked out of school. And he is a typical teenager who is not interested in absolutely anything. Besides cooking, he would also like to enroll in a prestigious academy that costs much more than what Marie can pay. She works as a street prostitute who has no pimps and she consoles herself that she is a free person because she does what she wants, as much as she wants and claims to herself and others that it is a job like any other, but it is clear that at least that repressed shame is simmering in her. But when he realizes that in order to pay the deposit to the school within a few months it is necessary to raise 5,000 euros, it will turn out to be a seemingly impossible task. She earns around 1,500 euros a month on the streets, of which 350 euros goes on food, and it is not difficult to guess how her attempt to get a loan from the bank will end. When her parents refuse to step in and help her for the umpteenth time, Marie is aware that there is only one thing left for her.
She gave up her freedom and some of the ideals she believed in and headed across the border to work in a German brothel. “Her Way” or “Une femme du monde” in the original turned out to be quite interesting because it shows the half-world of prostitution without judgment and without teaching or moralizing. We understand that for Marie, prostitution is a job like any other, and she has completely reconciled herself to the fact that it is her job, no matter how clear it is to us that it is in part self-delusion. It is clear to us that Marie is like any mother, that she wants to give her son a better life and a better choice than she herself had (regardless of the fact that she seems to come from a well-to-do family and that her life choice was a kind of rebellion). Ducrocq, and especially Calamy, managed to create a character from Marie who is multidimensional and whose psychology we can understand, although somehow it is always difficult to understand what must happen in someone’s life in order for them to start engaging in prostitution.