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LADIES OF THE WOOD

Claus Drexel / France / 2021 / 80 min / International Premiere
Sexual subcultures and the outsiders of society welcome us in the Boulogne forest west of Paris, where anyone can live out their inner fantasies.

Since the 19th century, the Boulogne forest west of Paris has been the city’s green sanctuary. But when dusk falls, the park has for just as long been a home and workplace for prostitutes and other eccentric characters on the fringes of society – and not least on the fringes of all of society’s norms in terms of gender and sexuality! An underworld of outsiders and proud queers among dog walkers and joggers, who in the stylish ‘Ladies of the Wood’ present themselves with a self-conscious no-bullshit attitude and a mutual tolerance that the rest of the world could learn a lot from. Claus Drexel stages the forest as a theatre flooded in coloured lights while the protagonists choose their own costumes and makeup, as they one by one share their personal stories. But none of them are blind to the harsh realities of life as a transgender person, a prostitute or other marginalised existence. ‘Ladies of the Wood’ is closer to the baroque and performative surplus of a musical than to social-realist depression.