“Sex work can be considered one of if not the most, stigmatised professions in the world. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, sex workers lives have changed dramatically. Many have lost the majority of their income, have little support from the government or their families to make it easier to maintain an emotional and psychological stability. Despite being so overlooked and facing high risks of violence, sex workers are a valid and crucial part of society, and are individuals who experience shame and power on an intimate level. Extrapolating ‘work’ identity from the basic identity becomes harder in relation to these complex narratives. This, we declare, is something that everybody can, and should, relate to and think about…Who are we? In what ways do we all contribute to harmful narratives around power and shame?”. Black Venus
Black Venus in Furs is a snapshot of a sex worker in a moment of acute violence. In the middle of this attack, she is exported to another world where she sees, not a negative or contrived vision of herself, but her pure self, with whom she is able to converse, poetically and symbolically. Once transported back to her present self, she manages to overcome her attacker and defeat him with the help of a saviour. This saviour, however, is none other than herself.
The short film plays with perspectives of the mind, and asks the question what it would mean to see oneself beyond the patriarchal gaze- what would it mean to be something more than ‘other’?
While the film visually plays on Blaxploitation and Sexploitation themes, Black Venus in Furs subverts the ‘exploitation’ aspect- what does it mean to be autonomous, to be liberated, free of shame, and to ultimately be your own saviour?