Student Services joins the recent slew of dramas surrounding student prostitution along with François Ozon’s Jeune et Jolie and Malgorzata Szumowska’s Elles.
Probably the least glamorous and certainly the most sexually graphic of the three, it is also the most disturbingly real thanks to a convincing turn from Belgian actress Déborah François (Populaire) who plays 19-year-old Laura.
Dating fellow student Manu (Benjamin Siksou) but desperately strapped for cash, she hooks up with an online site offering cash for bedroom services, and soon she’s earning good money from a variety of pervy men.
Although Student Services is slightly underwritten in character development, what makes it ultimately so appealing is the fabulous chemistry François develops with one of the punters, Mathieu Demy (as Benjamin) who gives a performance of considerable depth and allure as the two fall in love.
Student Services reveals the unexpected side of student prostitution and the fragility and vulnerability of teenage prostitutes is subtlely evoked here by François as she gradually becomes submerged in a low-life existence so distant from the one she hoped for. With an atmospheric soundtrack from artists The Walkmen and Soap&Skin, Student Services is a moving and engaging drama.
The Director Emmanuelle Bercot originally came to fame when her directorial debut Clément, in which she also starred, was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes 2001. Her most recent film Elle S’En Va, starring Cathérine Deneuve premiered at Berlin 2013. MT