Love For Sale DVD Review: Virtual Hooker Male Fantasy On Screen

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Apparently the Women’s Movement did little to overhaul a major offensive distortion in man-made movies, namely that prostitution is a primary path to female empowerment and liberation. Brazilian director Karim Ainouz’s Love For Sale is yet another addition to that deplorable male fantasy on screen.

Hermila (Hermila Guedes) is a young woman from the Brazilian countryside who migrates to Sao Paolo for a better life. When she becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son, Hermila returns to her village where she waits at her grandmother’s home for her boyfriend to join her. He never does, and after some time it becomes clear that he’s abandoned her and his infant son.

Somewhat dazed and into denial, Hermila descends into a dreary existence conning local men out of money by selling them bogus lottery tickets, hanging out with a girlfriend who’s become a street hooker, and occasional indifferent sex with a old lover she no longer cares for. Eventually frustration with her aimless and poverty-stricken life mounts, and Hermila announces publicly that she’s conducting a new lottery for the men in the town, with her body for sexual bidding as the prize.

As news spreads of Hermila’s scandalous offer, she’s scorned and ostracized. The winner is nevertheless treated to a night of decidedly disappointing sex for Hermila in a sleazy motel, and she’s off at dawn on a departing bus for a life in a new city, leaving her son behind.

Guedes is a superbly striking actress, who carries nearly the entire drama on her sensuous shoulders, and she deserved better. Unspoken wells of forlorn youthful disillusionment resonate deep within her soulful, expressive facial features, but count for far too little in the emotional scheme of things. At the same time, the filmmaker celebrates the splendor of the nearly celestial Brazilian vistas. If only he had shown the same reverence for his female protagonist as a profoundly conflicted woman, in search of her own personal paradise

Strand Releasing

Unrated

1 star

DVD Features: Theatrical Trailers.