Musical documentary about Nigerian women who hoped to find their fortune working as prostitutes in Europe, and now back in Nigeria try to build a new life. With music, composed specially for the film by Nneka, one of Nigerian most talented singer-songwriter.
In recent years, a growing group of illegal prostitutes from West Africa has settled in the suburbs of major cities both in the Netherlands and in the rest of Europe. The women come here in order to escape poverty, looking for a better life and new perspectives. They dream of riches. But for most of them, the European adventure is a disappointment that ends when they fly back to Nigeria empty-handed.
They do a course at the Lady Mechanic Garage, where deprived women are trained as car mechanics. But there are countless obstacles. They are cheated by woman who runs the course. They have to survive without any substantial income. They have to leave their children with family or bring them up in difficult circumstances. Time and again they are confronted with a merciless society in which there seems to be no room for them. But they don’t lose sight of their dreams and their lust for life.
The film is not only a plea for their resilience but also an expression of it. Music, as a source of comfort, pleasure and beauty – in other words resilience – plays an important role in the lives of the women and also in the film, with songs especially composed for it by Nigeria’s best producers and vocalists.
It sounds noble: giving former prostitutes from Nigeria a second chance by training them to become a car mechanic. Sexy Money reveals the disturbing reality behind the Lady Mechanic Initiative. You can't trust anyone, is the thought that arises after seeing Sexy Money. The revealing documentary shows how a number of former prostitutes from Nigeria try to build a better life for themselves against all odds, but the setbacks are huge. First of all, there are the crooks who lure them to Europe under false pretenses, from which they eventually returned 70,000 euros poorer - the money they had to hand in as prostitutes - after enduring countless humiliations from their clients.
Then there is their 'rescuer' Sandra Aguebor, initiator of the Lady Mechanic Initiative project, a garage where these women get a second chance as an apprentice car mechanic. At first glance, this woman seems like an idealist — she shouts loudly that she wants to give women back their power — but after a while it turns out that she does not always pay her students the promised wages and the money from her sponsors, including the Dutch Eureko Achmea Foundation, used for personal gain.
And then there's the Imo College of Advanced Professional Studies, which promises one of the women a leadership position; she would be the first female car mechanic to “write history” and symbolize “the rise of Africa”, she is praised. They end up shockingly leading her on. These women must become independent of the money of unreliable men (“men are cheaters,” Aguebor constantly tells them), but the alternatives are just as bad. Karin Junger (Birthplace Unknown, Bolletjes Blues), who went into the slums of Lagos on her own, spiced up her excellent documentary with afrobeat by the popular Nigerian singer-songwriter Nneka, who wrote a few songs especially for the film and shows the fighting spirit of this women underlined.
- Ikon Television
- Dutch Film Fund
- Directed by: Karin Junger
- Production company: De Productie
- Cinematographer: Karin Junger
- Sound: Simone Galavazi
- Sound design: Ranko Paukovic
- Editors: Dorith Vinken & Maurice Bedaux
- Commissioning editor ikon: Margje de Koning
- Composers: Nneka
Première IFFR 2014, Netherlands Film Festival 2014, Lighthouse ff Lagos, Nigeria, Women & Cinema, African Diaspora Film Festival New York, Frankfurt Filmfestival
Gouden Kalf 2014