Purity and Danger
Puhtaus ja vaara
Five Finnish sex workers Ilona, Mia, Krista, Milla and Karoliina tell us about their work. They are aged from 25 to 50, some have civilian jobs or study while others are very dedicated to their work. But there is one big danger – us, the others. The stigma we give to sex workers is so strong and dangerous, that they cannot be in the film as themselves. To keep them safe from us, their interviews are spoken through the mouths of five other women. And as they cannot talk in public, the public space is brought to them. Purity and danger is a film about sex work, sexuality and the stigma attached to it. Why in a society that otherwise admires sexual activity, sex work is still very stigmatized? What is the big threat the sex workers represent to us? Sexuality and sex work are sensitive and emotional issues. To talk about sensitive issues is best to have calm, open and accepting atmosphere – and that’s what the film is about. The film gives the audience a chance to forget about their preconceptions for a while and instead just see, feel and listen - and to find their own thoughts on the subject.
Elina Talvensaari (b.1978) is an anthropologist-turned-flmmaker from Helsinki, Finland. Her background in anthropology is often present in her films as a distant gaze questioning our own thoughts and habits. Her short flm How to pick berries opened at 67th Venice Film Festival and was nominated for EFA’s best short film 2012. It has won various prizes at flm festivals worldwide and has been recognized also by fine art institutions such as MoMa in New York. Purity and Danger is Talvensaari’s graduation film from Aalto University. As How to pick berries, the flm has been written together with a Berlin-based photographer-writer Mauro Fariñas.