Tickets $10 or
Tickets $10 or
Hookers on Davie
Canada, 1984, Janis Cole & Holly Dale, 87 mins. NR
Hosted by Will Foran
“Hookers on Davie is a Canadian documentary film, directed by Janis Cole and Holly Dale and released in 1984. A portrait of a number of women, both cisgender and transgender, who work as prostitutes on Davie Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, the film profiles them in the context of the early campaign to “”clean up”” the street during the mayoralty of Mike Harcourt.
Before they were purged from the area in advance of Expo 86, sex workers strolled Davie Street in droves, turning Vancouver’s West End into “the prostitution capital of Canada.” Collectively organized, and working without pimps, they would meet regularly to discuss safety and self-defence, distribute “bad trick” sheets, and debate health controls and procedures. Based on eight months of advance research by the filmmakers, and another two months spent gaining the trust of their subjects, this Genie Award-winning documentary is less lurid exposé than activist ethnography. Tender and frank, compassionate and confrontational, Hookers on Davie is not just a major contribution to the direct cinema tradition in Canada; it also emerges, in retrospect, as a poignant portrait of a vibrant community that would soon be decimated by drugs, police harassment, and serial sexual violence when forcibly relocated to the Downtown Eastside.”