Nelly Arcan shocked the literary world with elegant phrasing and lurid details of sex work in her semi-autobiographical first novel, Putain (Whore), which became an international best-seller in 2001. A prostitute by choice, Nelly's fragmented life is laid bare in a stylish mix of make-believe and memoir, revealing a woman lost between irreconcilable identities: the neurotic writer, the vulnerable lover, the call girl and the star. Despite literary success, the French Canadian's remarkable life ended in tragedy.
What may have been profound and poetic on the page feels redundant and banal on screen.
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