Meet the Fokkens

Gabriëlle Provaas, Rob Schröder, The Netherlands, 2011, color, video, 75'
Synopsis

Twin sisters Louise and Martine Fokkens have been working in the red-light district of Amsterdam for 50 years. Despite many setbacks and a great deal of negativity from those outside the world of prostitution, these strong, optimistic and humorous women have managed to survive all those years with verve. In Meet the Fokkens, the viewer gets to visit places in Amsterdam where the sisters' memories reside. Candid interviews and conversations with the two women, a daughter of Louise, and local residents help to recount Louise and Martine's life story. The twins tell amusing tales of how they came to be in this line of work, how they eventually went into business for themselves, and how relationships in the world of prostitution have changed over the years. Their stories are full of spicy details about their clientele, some of whom come from unexpected walks of life. One such client was a chaplain: "Don't you remember, we even had a little confessional!" And they talk about the tricks they used to help satisfy their clients more quickly. While some of the reminiscences are upsetting, the sisters speak with a great sense of compassion and even affection for their clients. Louise stopped two years ago, but Martine is still working - she also wants to quit, but her financial situation won't allow for it, she claims.

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