Hookers: An Inside Look at COYOTE
COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) was founded in San Francisco in 1973 as a lobby to represent the rights of prostitutes. Hookers is a documentary that takes off from the first San Francisco Hookers Ball on Halloween 1974, and becomes a portrait of several COYOTE members and their founder Margo St. James as they argue for legalizing and decriminalizing prostitution. The film presents interviews with four COYOTE members who describe their work. Highlights include hidden-camera documentation on the street with one of the women, and dramatizations with the others. Parts of the film cover the goings-on at the Hookers Ball. There are cameo appearances by members of the Cockettes, satirist Paul Krassner, and various masked and unmasked San Francisco personalities of the times.
Hookers was a controversial film when it was first released in 1975 because it portrays prostitutes as human beings. The film depicts a number of prostitutes as they see themselves and thus challenges the moralistic and ideological stereotypes of the "whore."
Though the facts of oppression and prejudice persist and are acknowledged, the women in this film demonstrate a self-awareness that allows them to come to terms with their work. COYOTE was instrumental in helping them formulate positive attitudes about themselves, and to combat the ostracism and alienation imposed on prostitutes.
FESTIVALS AND AWARDS
REVIEWS AND QUOTES
- Diplome d'Excellence, Festival International du Cinema en 16mm de Montreal (1975)
Directors: George Csicsery
Producer: Max Scherr
Studio: Zala Films
- "It is done in semi-documentary style. Not salacious, it shows the way in which enlightened, self-employed women go about the business of pleasing men on the streets, in posh salons, and even in the boudoir of a disciplinarian... A major desire on the part of the film-makers is to dispel the idea that hookers are for last resort frantic sex."
Sam Silver, Berkeley Barb
- "Don't think Hookers is either a glossover or an apology. Hooking, we are told, is a way of making a living often under harassment. Some of the women in the film really enjoy their work; others know they couldn't make the same money behind the lunch counter. In Hookers the reality is as you find it and that may very well surprise you."
- "I happened to discuss your film with a group of local jr. high school kids who came to see that night's program. Originally I worried about them seeing it, but they saw only the stated overt themes of your film (e.g. legal, a service). They missed what I consider the deeper comments on the human condition and people wanting love without responsibility."
Jan Kraepelien, Humboldt Film Festival
Number of discs:
Original release date:
November 15, 2010