69 year old identical Dutch twins Martine and Louise Fokken give a new meaning to the word sexagenarian. Both of them have been working as prostitutes in Amsterdam’s red light district for almost 50 years now, and Marianne is still plying her trade daily. (Louise retired 2 years ago when arthritis meant she ‘couldnt get one leg over each other’ any more)!
In this truly delightful documentary we discover that they are a wonderfully colorful irascible pair of Rubenesque women who have such joie de vivre. The film starts with following elderly Martine as she catches the bus from the suburbs clutching her tiny chihuahua (which she NEVER ever seems to put down) and en route to work calls in at the convenience store to pick up another box of 144 condoms. Immensely affable she greets everyone she meets with her big smile and constant chatter as if she is just heading for another day at the office.
Setting up her room she hangs her accouterments to show to passing strangers that she offers dominatrix and other kinky services for her ‘naughty’ men, and then dressed very provocatively sits in her large window enticing then to come in. The fact that all the ‘working girls’ in adjoining ‘windows’ are barely 20 years old seems to hardly bother this old trooper at all.
The sisters explain that very few of the punters want full intercourse but just to simply ‘get their rocks off,’ and the film includes some hilarious scenes with Martine and her gentlemen callers and how easily she can get them to be satisfied. What should be regarded as an intensely sexual experience seems to be harmless and a somewhat funny episode for the men who appear to enjoy the free cup of coffee afterwards just as much.
The sisters are inseparable and do literally everything together and live in their own apartments that are in buildings opposite each other. They dress in the same bright gaudy clothes, finish each other’s sentences and clearly are each other’s best friend. We see them in conversation with each other and also alone talking unguardedly straight to the camera about their lives to date. The information they reveal is somewhat patchy which makes their story even more intriguing. When Louise was 19 years old and already a mother of 3 children her physically abusive husband ‘forced’ her into working as a prostitute and Martine seemed to follow almost to support her sister’s indignity and precarious situation.
They touch on the fact that they made so much money in the early days, but now stuck in municipal housing there is no sign of it at all. They are fiercely independent and talk about the days when they broke away from the organized crime ‘pimp’ system and even opened up their own brothel at one time. And there is a scene when Louise is reconciled with one of her daughters but no real explanation is offered as to why the child grew up with foster parents. Its almost like there is a whole another movie to be made here.
The sisters own pleasure now is in painting bright garish canvases of scenes of their life in the Red Light District. Like the women themselves their artwork can best be described as somewhat naive. They do however make for a wonderful scene towards the end of the film when they are exhibited in a Gallery and all their old cronies turn up to show their support and their genuine love for these two unstoppable women.
They are two good-natured women with an infectious sense of humor who have obviously led a tough life yet appear to bare no scars or even deep resentments even, and the final scene where they are frolicking together in the snow like a couple of silly schoolgirls shows what a wonderful resilient couple they are.
A sheer joy to watch, and even enough reason to check up flight schedules to Amsterdam.
Labels: 2012, biography, documentary, Dutch