Sunday, 24 April 2016

Films from a Skewed Perspective 3 - Irina Palm

Having lived a life that few of us have but then again few of us would have wanted to, the remarkable Marianne Faithfull turned her hand once again to acting in this film. Directed by Sam Garbarski and co-starring Miki Manojlovic and Kevin Bishop, this tragicomedy really does push all the right buttons.

Faithfull plays the part of Maggie, a middle-aged Grandmother with an ailing grandson, Olly. His parents have tried to find a cure via procedures available to the UK, and therefore the NHS but the only country who is able to offer the cutting edge technology to operate is Australia. This is a financial step too far for the family simply cannot afford it.

Maggie tries several jobs unsuccessfully before seeing an advert for a hostess. She figures even she is able to do something so mundane, so simple, so undemanding. She goes for the job interview being held in Soho. The job is not quite what she had imagined. Hostess is in fact, a euphemism for a whore.

She needs to get money to help with his treatment but is unable to get a loan and so turns to the murky world of the sex industry. Her job, which shocks her at first, is to administer hand relief for male clients whose faces she never see's. 

Through a hole in the wall, the client thrusts his erection which the 'hostess' then masturbates. A colleague shows her how, sort of job experience, gives her the pseudonym IIrina Palm and so Maggie starts a new career in a London Town.

She turns out to be rather good at this business and gets a cult following. Of course, she encounters problems on the way, tennis elbow being but one, nosey friends  and neighbours another but she somehow manages to deal with all these issues. The major concern is what will she do if her son finds out?

Being so good at any given role attracts attention. Not only of the paying public but of the competition. A rival 'pleasure house' offers her a senior role where she would manage a group of female stimulators. Effectively making her a madam. Maggie turns down the job but for two reasons. The first she feels becoming a madam is a step too far and secondly, she and the owner of the club she is working for are falling in love. 

This is a film that delivers in all areas: it is funny, moving and even draws out family tension when her son discovers what she is doing to earn the money to pay for his offspring's treatment.

'Irna Palm' has had critical scathing from both 'The Independent' and 'The Guardian' so perhaps I should point this out to all and any who read this post. They, after all, are the experts. That said, I liked the film. It was a bit slow at times but all the same, I found it had charm.

Why we don't see more of Marianne Faithful in films is beyond me.

Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog