77 minutes| U.S.A.| 2009| Colour| Digital|

This screening includes Claire Dix’s Free Chips Forever, a short co-funded by RTE and Filmbase, about an invincible father and daughter chip-robbing team. Winner Best Irish Short,Corona Cork Film Festival 2009. (Ireland, 2009, Colour,
11 minutes).

Steven Soderbergh’s latest is the story of a young woman who has turned herself into a commodity, offering us a snapshot of the Bush II presidency’s dying days, with portents of financial doom already in the air. The casting of hardcore porn star Sasha Grey in the central role has already lent the film a certain notoriety, and although far from salacious in content, it’s clearly interested in examining the ambiguous terrain between a woman selling her sexuality and being exploited for it, between proprietor and victim.

As we follow her high-maintenance assignations in Manhattan’s plushest environs, the service she’s providing is as much about the appearance of affection and sympathy as it is purely physical, yet she’s still riven with anxiety about taking her business to the next level — an anxiety, Soderbergh suggests, is culturally endemic when everyone but everyone is working some sort of angle. Cool, collected, visually pristine, this is sharp, chic and engaged, like a contemporary take on mid-’60s Godard. Vivre sa vie for the Noughties, anyone?

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