Director Nicola Mai has spent the last several years studying the sex industry in respect of migrant workers, Normal is the third documentary film in the series, and the first to get a more feature length feel.
This important documentary looks at six people, who work in the sex industry. Many of them work on the front line of the industry, as prostitutes, while one works in the trafficking area, exporting women from his country to others. Each of the six people are interviewed individually and paced out over the course of the 65-minute running time. Most start relatively innocently, one ends up in the prostitution industry having fallen in love, while many are either deceived, or forced through financial hardship into that arena. At the other end however are those that claim to have been lured into the sex industry, whether they have or not however is down to the viewer to decide.
The stories featured are incredibly addictive, and obviously heartbreaking, listening to people life stories is always a compelling situation to be in, especially when those lives are based around an industry you may never hopefully see. The mixed effect, breaking each story from each character into dozens of bite size chunks, adds a compelling area of drama.
To protect the people involved, Nicola has replaced the people concerned with actors, as many of the characters citizenship would be in jeopardy, and possibly even their lives; and while you might have your suspicions about some, you never suspect it to be all, and it really takes you back. One of the cast who will stand out most of all is Tonia Sotiropoulou who plays the “innocent” Candy, the actress has recently appeared in Berbarian Sound Studio, and is to appear in the upcoming James Bond movie Skyfall.
Nicola has delivered a master class in interview based documentary filmmaking, showing enough about each and every character to make you both empathise with them, but more importantly feel as if you know them on a very personal level.