Arnon Grunberg



I was intrigued by A.O Scott’s review on Steven Soderbergh’s latest movie “The Girlfriend Experience”, for obvious reasons: ‘Up to now Ms. Grey’s screen performances have been almost entirely in hard-core pornography, and this professional background, along with her character’s profession, adds an aura of titillation to the movie. But “The Girlfriend Experience” is less interested in sex than in money, which is shown to be a far more powerful and dangerous source of obsession, confusion, passion and calculation. The movie follows Chelsea from one encounter to the next, and most of those that are not on the clock might be characterized as business meetings and strategy sessions.’

And for slightly less obvious reasons: ‘And this may be the point, at least in part. “The Girlfriend Experience” is about, and also traffics in, the intoxification of surfaces, and to say it objectifies Ms. Grey, who is very young (just 21) and very pretty, would be more plot summary than critique. Ms. Grey, whose career in pornography has been distinguished both by the extremity of what she is willing to do and an unusual degree of intellectual seriousness about doing it, is not so much acting here as posing a series of philosophical problems, testing the conceptual and experiential boundaries between degradation and empowerment, predator and prey, person and commodity.’ According to a web site Sasha Grey comes very much across as a porn actress indeed, but her own(?) site seems to be more ambiguous.

Tonight I saw the "The Girlfriend Experience". In Soderbergh’s movie Sasha Grey’s performance is more than accurate, and not for pornographic reasons.
Steven Soderbergh’s movie tells us that there is no alternative for the big void. Some people claim there is a thing called spirituality, but more often than not it is just emptiness without a credit card.

After the movie I had dinner with a friend at Bernard Madoff's favorite Italian restaurant. Which seemed to me an appropriate thing to do after watching this gloomy but very interesting movie.