Bliss (Glück) (2021)

In a world where their femininity is bought and sold, two sex workers find themselves in love with one another and can see a world of happiness, if only they can get through the darkness that exists in the heart of their lives.

Sascha (Katharina Behrens) and Maria (Adam Hoya, a performance artist and former escort herself who was the subject of the documentary Searching Eva) work in a Berlin brothel. Sascha sees her son every few days but otherwise is fine with her life; she has regular clients and gets along with her fellow sex workers. Maria is a younger woman that immediately bonds with her, but can the two of them navigate the barrier between sex and love when they sell intimacy to survive?

Director and writer Henrika Kull has made this her debut film and it’s an assured movie that seems like it came from a veteran. There’s a moment of true sadness in this as Maria keeps making phone calls to her dead father in Italy, leaving him rambling voice mails that no one will ever hear. The conflict between the lovers comes as Sascha has accepted her career as someone who has sex with others for money; Maria sees herself as perhaps something more.

This movie feels as if we are hidden in the rooms where the women work, privy to their lives and the secrets of what it’s like to give of yourself for money yet try to hold something for the person you give your heart to, which may be the most difficult transaction.

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