Production still from Sweet Talk courtesy of manifestation.tv.
Valentine’s Day is for lovers, right? Candy, flowers, candlelit dinners, and all that? For some people, maybe. But for those whose idea of romance consists of sitting at home and getting off while some stranger they’ve never met moans over a phone line, the documentary Sweet Talk may be a more fitting Valentine.
Canadian filmmaker Steven James May’s Sweet Talk, a documentary about phone sex workers, has been airing on the SexTV cable channel for a while. Sweet Talk trails three women—Maria, Ginger, and Dolores—as they demystify exactly what it looks like on the other end of all those 1-900 numbers listed in the back pages of NOW.
Anyone who remembers Jennifer Jason Leigh’s scenes in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, where she lazily teases strangers over the phone while Chris Penn broods around their apartment, may not be shocked to find out how routine a professional phone sex gig is. But what makes Sweet Talk more than just a backdoor glance into a halfway shady profession is the charisma of its subjects.
Though all sort-of foxy in their own way, none of the three women featured in Sweet Talk are the kind of bottle-blonde sorority girls you’ll find on late night Quest infomercials. Maria is a mother of two, whose home office is about as romantic as an H&R Block, and whose real ambition is to be a writer (as of filming, she’s written 250 pages of a mystery novel tentatively titled Sane Insanity). Ginger’s turn to the world of aural sex came out of financial necessity, since she needed to supplement her job as a waitress. And Dolores seems the least removed of the bunch, dressing up in frilly negligees, and eagerly describing sissification fantasies. She also succeeds in effectively turning the camera around on the director, a rare feat for any but the most nimble documentary subjects.
All in all, it’s a pretty solid documentary, one which allows these women to speak for themselves, and turns a non-judgmental eye on their line of work. Valentine’s Day sees the release of Sweet Talk on DVD, via the movie’s website. Sunday will also see a special DVD launch in Toronto. May is pretty mum on the details, but anyone who’s so inclined can email [email protected] for more information.
It’s not exactly a fancy dinner and moonlit stroll, but the Sweet Talk DVD premiere may be the perfect place to take more adventurous sweethearts, or to shake the blistered hands of local phone sex enthusiasts.