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A Excessive-Priced Escort’s NSFW Exploration of Intercourse and Tech

AThe third season of The Girlfriend Experience, which comes out more than three years after its last episode, keeps the series focus on sex work and its downright un-sexy atmosphere. As before, beautiful, wealthy and influential personalities navigate with steely distance to icy modern places and transactional relationships. Her erotic goals are linked to her hunger for power and control. In most other aspects, this final round for the Starz show (premiered May 2) – loosely inspired by Steven Soderbergh’s 2009 film of the same name – shows a unique course that focuses on the role technology plays in amorous connections, and downplaying the very carnal component of its premise as much as possible. There’s almost no arousal here, but what it lacks in warmth is made up for by exploring ideas about the new sensual frontier.

This new The Girlfriend Experience has been taken over by writer / director Anja Marquardt (She has lost control) and is replaced by Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz, who directed the first two seasons. The change is immediately felt in the aesthetics of the show. Although Marquardt retains the predecessor’s preference for frosty, minimalist interiors, the severity of Kerrigans and Seimetz’s caricatures and neat, angular cinematography has been replaced by slightly warmer tones, more decorated rooms, and more fluid camera work. That shift isn’t apparent from the start, however, as the premiere begins with Iris (Julia Goldani Telles) being interviewed by a woman in a dazzling white room, with both wearing matching white dresses – a scene that it turns out that this is done via a virtual reality headset. This is the preferred means by which the employer’s escort company, The V, communicates with their employees.

Iris teamed up with The V courtesy of Tawny (Alexandra Daddario). Her plan is to move to London and see clients while working for a tech start-up instead of pursuing her Masters in Behavioral Psychology and Neuroscience. Her real-world work quickly got her to collaborate with Hiram (Armin Karima) on a platform that analyzes human faces and archived audio recordings of people discussing their fantasies and kinks in order to understand and predict the emotions and desires of individuals. It is a cross-border analysis in the service of understanding the mind and libido, and this mission is of course in line with Iris’ sideline as a call girl, as her success in this arena depends on her ability to read John’s – are you dominant? or submissive? How far can or should she push them? What kind of woman do you long for? – so that she can give them what they want and not just what they need. So it’s no surprise that she chooses the name Cassandra, the prophetess who was not believed, for her escort alias.

Iris’ day job eventually involves interacting with an evolving artificial intelligence named Emcee (Zara Wilson) that she has tasked with training to be more human. This process fits perfectly with her escort services as she secretly records her client sessions and, in a daring move, uploads the audio clips to the platform to improve its performance. All of this takes place against the background of Iris’ fight against her father’s early onset dementia, which is examined using MRI and thus another aspect of the show’s fascination is to examine neurological patterns and conditions with techno-means. Varying between Iris’ office work, her phone calls with her father and sister (and the escort broker who arranges her appointments) and her budding relationship with her clients – including business star Georges (Oliver Masucci), baseball player Brett (Tobi Bamtefa) and polite Paul – The Girlfriend Experience is an efficient and confident affair with little excess fat found in each of the half hour episodes.

To a greater extent than in the first two seasons, Marquardt’s story disregards the X-rated tête-à-têtes to such an extent that they are negated altogether. For at least the first five chapters (which were all that was made available to the press) there are few cases of overtly dramatized sex, and they are so short that they barely leave an impression. While there has always been a business cool-down, this The Girlfriend Experience feels especially steam-free. Much of this has to do with his interest in the way sex – and desire – is now filtered through technological interfaces. The study of the selected topics and the protagonist herself have an academic quality. Iris is a calculating young woman whose every act and expression seems designed to elicit a coveted reaction and outcome – a situation that hopelessly blurs the line between spontaneity and intent in both the bedroom and the desk.

The study of the selected topics and the protagonist herself have an academic quality.

Self-reflection plays a central role in Iris’ dual role as seductive escort and AI programmer, which is why mirrors are both visually and – via Emcee – a main motif of The Girlfriend Experience, best developed by interacting with a clone of herself – narrative. Marquardt places emphasis on reflective surfaces (in bathrooms and hotel suites, in elevators and on balconies with a view of the skyline of central London) and on luminous circular patterns. Their shape is strongly attuned to their greater concerns about the secrets of the conscious and unconscious. At the same time, she orients herself to Kerrigan and Seimetz, soaking their material in conversations about professional business and dynamics that are rich in detail but still intentionally opaque so that one often only has a general idea of ​​what is actually going on from the moment on itself goes to the moment.

Tradition has it that The Girlfriend Experience ultimately depends on the performance of its leading lady, and as Iris, Telles strikes a disturbing balance between formidable intellectual and sensible predator. Marquardt creates tension from the discrepancy between Telles ‘youthful looks and her mature manipulations, and the actress’ ability to add ulterior motive to every smile and gesture goes a long way in perpetuating the tightrope discomfort of the procedure. It’s hard to get a solid slap on Iris, who moves between different worlds (literal and virtual) with a mix of confidence and broke daring, and it’s thanks to the writer / director that she doesn’t try to define them Protagonist as just one thing. Like the show itself, Iris has layers that are difficult to pin down but fascinating to ponder.

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