Whether it is about students funding their education or young women consciously making a lifestyle choice, storylines dealing with prostitution never seem to go out of fashion – au contraire, they’re only becoming more popular. Perhaps they should now be classified as a sub-genre in itself!
Talented Austrian writer-director Sabine Derflinger’s “Tag und Nacht” however explores this cliché-ridden topic a bit further than others, through its emphasis on characterisation rather than merely focusing on protagonists’ circumstances or unpleasant experiences. Nothing too dramatic happens to the characters, and neither are their clients and pimps depicted as monsters. She achieves this by forcing through her protagonists a series of dilemmas, and watching them respond.
University friends Lea and Hanna, on a whim (well – a toss of coin), decide to try out prostitution as opposed to waiting tables to make some money on the side. We’re led to believe Lea to be the adventurous one, with Hanna being the more circumspect. But as they settle down in their chosen profession, we get to see a different side to each of them, one that fleshes out their characters into individuals charting their respective lives, aided by their own morals and ethics.
In retrospect, “Tag und Nacht” (Day and Night) is an apt title for this film – apart from merely being the name of the escort agency that Hanna and Lea work for, it is also indicative of their character, and choices they make. The film is also beautifully made with some fine cinematography, editing, and sincere performances from all the main cast. Anna Rot in particular is exceptional and convincing as Lea, and apart from being gorgeous, she also reminds me of a young Maribel Verdú. As for Ms. Derflinger, she’s done a fine job yet again, but I couldn’t help noticing the screenplay being a tad inconsistent in one or two places – some references have loose ends that make little sense and are perhaps unnecessary even. It also makes me wonder whether the DVD I have is indeed the director’s approved cut – IMDB states that this film is 101 minutes long, but the main film in my DVD was only 97 minutes without taking into account any extras. Unless IMDB has got it wrong (which it does sometimes), this may well be a truncated version. Despite this, and having seen only one other film from this director to date (Vollgas), I quite look forward to exploring more of Ms. Derflinger’s work. Recommended Viewing..!